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A Heart for Supporting Children With Special Needs

Thoa Bui, Holt’s vice president of programs and services, shares with Holt child sponsors and donors about the impact they had in 2022 — including for children with disabilities like Quynh in Vietnam.

Happy New Year! As we embark on a new year ahead, I have such a thankful heart for all sponsors and donors do for children and families in need around the world.

Last year you helped us reach more than 1.5 million children and individuals, many of whom are children with disabilities. These children face significant challenges in their daily lives, experience discrimination and are often excluded from society and school. But with your help, thousands of children with disabilities are getting the care, attention and education they deserve — children like Quynh.

Quynh is 8 years old and attends a Holt-supported daycare for children with disabilities in Vietnam called the KiAnh Center. Quynh has attended this special day care for 5 years now, since age 3 when she was diagnosed with autism. At the time, she couldn’t communicate or interact and had challenging behaviors. Her parents couldn’t find a daycare facility that was willing to accept her due to her level of need — until they found the KiAnh Center.

A girl holds up an art project of fish made out of paper

Staff at the KiAnh Center shared that, “The early months of Quynh at the school were difficult. She was hyperactive and did not stop running around, ceaselessly running and jumping, shouting and crying at the school. She would not sit down or sit still for even a minute, and certainly would not lie down to nap during the noon time siesta which is customary in Vietnam. She required continual one-on-one assistance from staff to make sure that she did not have any accidents and harm herself.”  

But Quynh was welcome there. She began receiving the physical and speech therapy, nutrition, academic support and more that the KiAnh Center provides. And over time, she has made tremendous positive changes.

Today, Quynh can communicate and speak in sentences up to five words. She tells her parents and teachers what she needs and what she sees, and will ask questions when she wants to know or is interested in something. She patiently waits her turn. These are all hard things for any autistic child to do!At home, Quynh helps with setting the table for meals and helping with laundry. She cares and pays attention to the others’ feelings, and will independently comfort her friends when they are upset by rubbing their head and wiping away their tears. 

Quynh’s parents say the support they’ve received is life-changing, and they are able to function as the family they always longed to be. 

Quynh’s parents say the support they’ve received is life-changing, and they are able to function as the family they always longed to be. They can now take her to a café, or a supermarket, or any place they want to go — and it is now a pleasant event for all of them, and not something that causes apprehension and distress like they used to experience.

This is the incredible help that you provide to children with disabilities and their families around the world. From improved nutrition and medical care to low-cost daycare and education, you are providing life-changing support to so many children with special needs and their families or caregivers through Holt programs around the world. 

Thank you for supporting these children, and giving them the opportunities they deserve and need to thrive!  

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