Despite significant economic growth in the last decade, poverty remains widespread in many rural areas of Thailand. Also excluded from the country's growing prosperity are migrants, minorities and refugees. For these and other struggling families, relinquishing or abandoning a child often seems the only way to ensure their child's needs are met. An enduring stigma against unwed mothers also compels many Thai women to relinquish their children to institutional care.
The HIV/AIDs epidemic has greatly affected children and families in this Southeast Asian country. Although Thailand developed one of the most aggressive programs to treat and prevent the spread of the disease, the rate remains high. An estimated 380,000 children have been orphaned by AIDs, placing the burden of care on grandparents and other caregivers. Another 200-300 children are born HIV-positive every year.Our Work
In the mid-1970s, Holt allied with a group of Thai educators and social workers to establish a child welfare organization in Thailand. Founded on the belief that every child deserves to grow up in a permanent, loving family, the Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF) - or United Hearts Foundation - quickly became a prominent provider of child welfare services, and today remains Holt's sole partner organization in Thailand.
In 1976, HSF began providing support services to struggling families, enabling them to care for their children. Over the years, services expanded and today include counseling, financial assistance, vocational training, educational sponsorship and income-generating projects. Training in proper health and nutrition also reinforces a family's ability to care for their children.
Also in 1976, HSF became the first organization to implement foster care in Thailand. A more nurturing alternative to institutional care, HSF foster care provides a loving home for children while they await adoption or to rejoin their families, once stable.
To assist unwed mothers, HSF provides shelter, health and postnatal care, as well as counseling to help them cope with discrimination, and ultimately make an informed decision about whether to relinquish their child. To date, about 80% of the women who received HSF support eventually decided to keep their baby.
As HIV/AIDS grew to epidemic proportions in the late 1990s, Holt began providing assistance to HIV-positive single and expectant mothers in the south - a particularly vulnerable region. HSF also piloted a system of caring for HIV-positive children in foster care. In the years since, Holt's foster care program in Thailand has become the model for both governmental and non-governmental child institutions as they transition to this family-like care alternative.Help Support Children and Families in Thailand!
Sponsor a child!
Your support will ensure warmth, safety, nutrition and nurturing care for a vulnerable child in Holt's foster care or family preservation programs in Thailand.
Give a Gift of Hope!
Whether for Christmas or another occasion, giving from Holt's gift catalog is a wonderful way to honor a loved one. In Thailand, you can support one month of foster care for a homeless child, or give warm clothing, school supplies or a medical procedure for a child who needs it.
Donate to the Thailand rehabilitation fund today!
In 2011, Thailand's worst monsoon season in 50 years flooded two-thirds of the country, displacing many of Holt's foster families and children. Help Holt repair and rebuild homes, ensuring children in our care have a safe, stable place in which to grow and thrive.
An expanded version of this document is available as a PDF. Click here.