A photo essay and update on last year’s sponsor-funded International Day of the Child celebrations for children in Holt’s programs overseas.
Few things in life are as momentous as the birth of a child. When a child comes into our lives, we cheer and hug and pass around cigars — our faces wet with joyful tears. And every year after, we celebrate the anniversary of the day our child entered the world with parties and gifts and candlelit birthday cakes. Birthdays are more than a silly tradition. And however we celebrate them, the fact that we DO expresses to our children just how much we love them — and how grateful we are that they were born.
Every child deserves a birthday. Every child deserves to eat cake and open presents and have a whole day devoted to celebrating them.
But some children don’t have mothers and fathers and grandparents to throw them birthday parties. Others have loving families who wish they could do more on their children’s birthdays, but can barely afford to give them what they need every other day of the year.
That’s why, several years ago, Holt started a tradition of celebrating the birthdays of children in our programs overseas on June 1, the International Day of the Child. To fund these parties, Holt sponsors go above and beyond their normal monthly donation. They provide goodie bags with signed messages wishing their sponsored child a happy birthday, and give a little extra money for the celebrations. This year, donations from sponsors are also helping to provide a new pair of shoes for every child!
Below, we share photos from last year’s International Day of the Child celebrations in countries we serve around the world.
In Thailand, local staff used sponsor funds to fill goodie bags with stationary sets, sippy cups or cartoon-covered water bottles, chocolate bars and cookies. “HSF would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Holt’s child sponsors for their generous donation,” writes the staff of Holt Sahathai Foundation, our partner in Thailand. “This special donation was very meaningful to needy children in our care!”
In Nanchang, China, children in Holt’s family strengthening program got to pick out books. “They had a great time in the bookstore and were very happy to get the books,” writes our China staff. “Thank you for your generous donations, which gave the children a wonderful Children’s Day!”
“The foster families, group home parents and the children are very happy to receive the great gifts,” writes our program staff in Shangrao, China. “Thank you for your generous donation to make the children have a happy and wonderful holiday!”
In Aurangabad, India, children in care spent a day at the zoo! “When we told them about the outing plan, the children got very happy […] They expressed their interest by shouting and clapping,” writes our partner in Aurangabad. “Thanks for bringing a wonderful day in our children’s lives.”
In Cambodia, children played games and received gift packages that included practical items like shampoos as well as sweets and toys.
In Vietnam, older children in care in Binhduong took a trip to a water park, while children in family strengthening and foster care programs received gifts and enjoyed parties with their families. “On behalf of 433 children in the orphanage and in the community,” writes our Holt Vietnam staff, “we would like to express our sincere thanks to the generous donors who shared happiness and caring to the disadvantaged children on their special day.”
Sponsors, watch your mailboxes for your birthday bounceback packages! Be sure to sign your treasure bag and return to Holt by April 30 so it reaches your sponsored child by International Children’s Day!