FAIR LAWN, NJ - Wayne Paulter, a member of Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary, spent ten days in India this January with the global nonprofit Unbound, a child sponsorship organization devoted to empowering families experiencing poverty in the developing world.  

Wayne followed Unbound’s work in the southern metropolitan areas of Hyderabad and Chennai.  He visited schools, harvest festivals, field day competitions and typical homes in both urban and village areas.  In each place, he was immersed in the local cultures and met with numerous families who expressed how helpful it had been to have sponsoring families walk with them, as it were, on their journey.

Unbound currently connects over 260,000 sponsors to more than 310,000 children, elders and their families.  The organization works in 19 nations in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

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 “It’s encouraging to see newer, smarter giving models making such an impact. Unbound doesn’t perpetuate dependency. It creates sustainable programs that provide a family with the resources they need for their own individualized path out of poverty, especially through education and enterprise,” Wayne explains.

Mothers are especially important in Unbound. In areas where a father might be the primary worker outside the home, Unbound mothers organize in groups to support each other, develop entrepreneurial skills, participate in savings and micro-lending programs and make decisions as a body on how to use their shared resources.  

“When a child sees his mother and his friends’ mothers make decisions and take actions which positively impact the community, that can be a game changer,” Wayne observes.

Wayne’s family sponsors families in four countries and his three school-age children enjoy the lively correspondence exchanged with their distant friends. In the past, he’s also traveled to Uganda and Kenya to observe Unbound’s work and visit sponsored families there. Wayne’s daughter Aldona, 10, enthusiastically joins him at Unbound’s outreach events at New Jersey parishes to develop new sponsors.

“Our family has gained so much from sharing in the lives of our sponsored friends. It’s natural for us to cheer for our friends’ accomplishments or pray for their challenges each day. They’re part of our family now. Our children are gaining a better understanding of how so many in the world live and it gives context to our own experiences as a family.” Wayne reports.

For more information about how to become an Unbound sponsor, visit Unbound.org. For more information about the different ways your friends at Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary put “service above self,” send an email to FairLawnSunriseRotary@gmail.com or attend a meeting soon. Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary meets at Juany’s Café in Fair Lawn at 7:30 a.m. every Tuesday morning.  On the last Tuesday of the month, the group holds a Happy Hour meeting at 5:30 p.m. (in place of the morning meeting) at the Railyard Tavern.