In Action

We often turn to our parents for wisdom and guidance. Unbound harnesses that collective wisdom to create more effective, personalized and resilient programs around the world.


We believe
in mothers

One mother can transform her family. Many moms together can transform communities. That's why mothers groups are such an important part of our work.



moms run the Unbound program


They know what their families need

No one knows a family better than a mom. That's why moms decide how to use sponsorship benefits for their children, making the most of funds received through family accounts.


They know their communities

Moms know what resources are available and what's needed.


They know how to get things done

Whether it's getting kids to do homework and chores or organizing neighbors to beautify their community, moms are a motivating force.


They know how to use resources to the fullest

Moms know how to get the most out of every resource, from turning an empty field into a thriving place of business to learning new skills through mothers groups.


They know how to prioritize

Moms living on the margins have to make tough decisions for their families’ survival. They know how to focus on what's most important now and what they can plan to achieve later.



The first Unbound mothers groups formed in India in 2001 to provide a new level of support for families of sponsored children.


Mothers groups help lead our programs around the world.



When her daughter was sponsored in 2016, Sushma in India joined an Unbound mothers group and started contributing to the group savings. She took her first loan a year later and opened a small general store in her village. Income was small at first, but business slowly increased. Sushma repaid the loan and enrolled her children in a good school. She continues to grow her business and says the program gave her hope and encouragement when she was in despair.


lead the way

Introducing Unbound mothers groups in Guatemala: Comunidades de Desarrollo Integral (Communities of Integral Development), or CODIs for short.

Each CODI has about 25 moms from the same neighborhood. They meet regularly to bring the Unbound program to life. Through CODIs, mothers in Guatemala transform from program participants to confident leaders in their families and communities.


“The mothers within the mothers groups (CODIs) are reaching a level of empowerment where they themselves plan their activities. The role of the social worker has become that of an assessor, instructor, guide, and the mothers are the ones that are the protagonists. In this sense, the mothers are giving life to Unbound’s main objective, which is for the person to become more, not just to have more."

Francisco Chavajay, Hermano Pedro program
coordinator in Guatemala



CODI members select a mother to lead each of these committees:



Monitor sponsored students’ grades and status in school, make sure struggling students get extra help and assist with youth group activities.


Keep track of health-related events in families such as malnutrition, emergencies and deaths, organize health workshops and support environmental activities.



Offer encouragement and support to members as they work toward completing their family goals and, along with the social worker, offer advice on the best use of sponsorship benefits.


Motivate, train and organize sponsored friends to write letters to their sponsors and keep a record of when letters are due.



Name: Tzunun Ya

Translation: Hummingbird
Location: Lake Atitlan area

Meeting location: A small yard nestled between the homes of two members atop a long, steep staircase.

Group livelihood activities: They teach each other skills such as embroidery. They embroider shirts with traditional Mayan patterns to sell before festivals and as Christmas gifts for sponsored children and elders.


Investing more
than money

In Kenya, mothers access their children’s sponsorship funds through mobile banking, and they are multiplying the impact of their sponsorships through SACCOs. What’s a SACCO you ask?



SACCOS are owned, managed and run by members who unite to meet shared economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations. The goal is to pool members’ savings and provide access to credit. With more than 180 licensed SACCOs in Kenya, SACCOs provide a popular and more accessible banking option to those with medium and low incomes.



Unbound Nairobi SACCO

Since 2014, more than 12,000 members have invested in their families and communities by saving, earning interest and borrowing. These moms can remain in the SACCO even after their children have left the sponsorship program, enjoying access to benefits such as:

  • More than $425,000 USD distributed a year in loans to members
  • Have been used for education expenses, business capital, medical needs and housing materials
  • Member deposits total more than $2.5 million USD
  • Total interest earned from member deposits and sponsorship funds was more than $294,000 in 2019

“Since the inception of the SACCO, there has been continuous growth of the mothers. They have become more informed, gained confidence in themselves and are greatly empowered."

— Alice Wambui, Unbound staff member in Nairobi


Power of

In the Philippines, mothers groups have formed two types of cooperatives — credit and consumer.



consumer cooperative?

In consumer cooperatives, members buy and sell goods to generate income.


For example, farmers who plant the same crop can form a consumer cooperative to purchase seed stock as a group, which means they can negotiate a better price than they could on their own. When it's time to sell their goods, they market their product together to increase efficiency and reduce costs.



Voluntary and open membership


Democratic member control


Member economic participation


Autonomy and independence


Education, training and information


Cooperation among cooperatives


Concern for community



Name: Masinop Credit Cooperative

Many members of Unbound mothers groups contribute to a group savings fund that allows them to take loans. In 2018, after saving collectively for nine years, mothers in the Antipolo program in the Philippines wanted to protect their financial assets and better serve group members. A core group of moms attended a seminar on how to start a cooperative. With help from Unbound program staff, they completed the necessary paperwork and officially registered as the Masinop Credit Cooperative. In less than a year, more than 1,800 families were members.


Fathers ready
for anything

You might be wondering, "What about the dads?" Most sponsored children and youth are represented in Unbound programs by their moms. Sometimes, fathers will take part in mothers groups when the mom isn't able to because of work conflicts, health or other reasons.


In the Philippines, dads wanted to do more. Fathers in the Antipolo program created disaster response groups known as ERPAT, short for Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities. They’ve expanded their activities to include other community service, and inspired fathers in other parts of the Philippines to form their own groups.



at a glance

  • Started in 2000
  • More than 40 groups
  • Approximately 10,000 members
  • Won awards from the Philippine government for their blood drives

"[We saw] the potential that our fathers have ... They are the protector and the head of the family. We would like to encourage them to be the father also to our Unbound communities."

— Ryan Pajo, Antipolo program staff member