The day marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1989 United Nations treaty that — for the first time in history — defined the civil, economic, political, social and cultural rights of children. It also set goals to improve the livelihoods of children around the world.
Today, as we reflect on Holt’s nearly 60 years of serving vulnerable children and families around the world, we also celebrate the ways in which the lives of children around the world have improved thanks to the Convention and the work of dedicated children’s rights advocates.
In the same breath, we also recognize areas where more work needs to be done to reach the goals of the Convention, and how Holt can push forward — working toward a more just and equal world, where every child is valued and loved and no child is alone.
According to a report by UNICEF entitled “25 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Is the World a better place for children?,” the children who remain the most vulnerable are those “born to poor parents, children of ethnic minorities, children who live in rural areas, and children with disabilities.”
In large part, these are the children who Holt serves — children who live in areas that are difficult to access, children and families with disabilities, children left nearly invisible to the world.
Or the single mothers who we serve in Southeast Asia, helping them learn new job skills to support their children.
Because Holt’s programs approach child welfare differently than most sponsorship organizations, we are able to effectively find and serve the world’s most vulnerable populations.
While our work often impacts entire communities, we offer more than just broad community support. Our care goes deeper.
We provide uniquely tailored services that holistically address the needs of each child in our programs and work to prevent abandonment or displacement. Often, we provide children and families with free daycare services or educational support, nutritious food, warm clothing, medical care, foster care, job skills training or microloans to help parents earn vital income and support for children with special needs.
Every child and family in our programs is paired with a highly trained teacher, social worker or Holt field worker to build individualized long-term goals for the future and help strategize how Holt can most effectively serve their immediate needs.
That way, no child is invisible. No child is left alone. No family is forgotten.
As we get closer to the 25th anniversary, we look to the future — and all the ways that Holt will continue to seek and serve the most vulnerable children in the world. We will continue to bring educational opportunities to children who may never step into a classroom otherwise.
We will bring healthy food to orphaned and abandoned children, and provide them the best care in the world until they can be placed with a loving, permanent family. We will serve children with special needs, fighting for a world where stigma and isolation disappear and every child has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.
As UNICEF writes, “This milestone must serve as an urgent reminder of the millions of children not yet reached — and an opportunity to find new ways of reaching them.”
Until the barriers that prevent a more just and equal world have been eliminated, we will continue to provide support to the most marginalized children — offering individualized assistance that impacts their life for years to come. And we will continue to ask you to partner with us. Join in the fight for a better world.