President and CEO Phil Littleton Travels to Mongolia and China — A Photo Essay

In September, Holt President and CEO Phil Littleton spent two weeks visiting Holt projects in China and Mongolia. “The work we are doing exceeded my expectations,” Phil said. “It was extraordinary.”  


Below Phil visits the Rainbow Special Baby Care Unit within a state-run infant and toddler orphanage in Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Holt established ties with the orphanage in 1999. At this special baby care unit, Holt provides at-risk infants and toddlers with the proper nutrition, medical care and nurture they need to thrive.

“When Holt arrived in Mongolia almost two decades ago, the orphanage was rather bleak,” Phil says. “Today, the center in Ulaanbaatar is a well-run, warm place for babies to come and be nursed back to health and receive proper nutrition and care.”
“Ninety percent of the children at the care centers don’t have families,” Phil says. “Some, however, come here on a temporary basis while their families get the support they need. It’s wonderful to be able to provide a safe place for these children to come while their families become more stable.”

“This little guy really touched my heart,” Phil says.

Family Preservation in Mongolia:

While in Mongolia, Phil also visited families in Holt’s family strengthening and preservation program.  Holt established this program in 2013 to help struggling families — most of which are headed by single mothers — care for their children.

“These families are living in extremely small huts,” Phil says. “We arrived with food for them, and for some of the families it was the first meal of the day.  But we are helping them get back on their feet.”

Erdenetsetseg, mother of three children (pictured below), is unemployed. Her husband visits his children and wife but does not support the family. They live below the poverty line in a ger dwelling, and get their drinking water from a nearby public water pump station. The youngest child receives support through Holt’s child sponsorship program.

“Saying this family’s life has been hard is an understatement,” Phil says. “But we are going to help them.” Holt initiated our family strengthening program in 2013. Here, Phil speaks with the family and provides them with food and supplies.
“This mother says all she wants is for her children to receive an education,” Phil says.
“This mother works extremely hard for her children,” Phil says. “She wants to make sure they receive an education.”

Shurenchimeg (above) is a single mother with four children. The family lives in a poorly maintained ger dwelling. For work, Shurenchimeg collects recyclable items from the garbage and sells them. The family receives assistance from the government as well as Holt, and the school-aged children receive support from Holt child sponsors.


Below, Phil visits a Holt-supported library and after-school program in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Along with giving children access to books through the library, Holt also provides hot lunches, study programs, art and music instruction, language class and other activities as well as a health monitoring and hygiene program. The children are also provided counseling and intervention, as needed, by the social welfare officers. It is Holt’s hope that this special after-school program will provide a gateway through which we can engage a much greater number of families in the district, provide services to them and their children, and have a positive impact on the community.

“We call it a library, but really it’s this wonderful community center where children are able to come and get a good meal, learn and cultivate their talents,” Phil says.
“These children have so much drive, and here they can do art projects, play games, read and learn — they all really want to learn,” Phil says.
“This young woman was a gifted artist,” Phil says. “I was lucky enough to be the recipient of one of her creations. She is extremely talented.”

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In China, Phil visited families in our family strengthening and preservation program, and met with officials from China’s Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA).  

“This woman grabbed my hand and said, ‘So you are the ones helping me. Thank you.’ It meant so much.” Phil recalled this moment with a grandmother in our family preservation program in Yanji.
Board member Chuck Mitman traveled with Phil. Read about Chuck’s experience and perspective on the trip in an upcoming blog.
This man and his wife are taking care of their granddaughter with support from Holt’s family strengthening program. Their housing situation is extremely unstable. Without Holt support, their future would be uncertain.
Phil and Chuck Mitman tour the home of a young girl receiving support through educational sponsorship. She lives with her father (center) and uncle, who is very ill. “They have been so grateful for Holt’s support,” Phil says. “This father has tried to do so much for his daughter.”


Read more about our work in China and Mongolia!


Holt Opens Library For Children in Impoverished District of Mongolia by Holt’s Nutrition Initiatives Coordinator Aloura Digiallonardo, who recently traveled to Mongolia

A Bright, Curious Mind —In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Holt strives to meet the changing needs of 15-year-old Batbayar, a boy with cerebral palsy who is growing too big — and too smart — for his environment.

Looking to the Sky — After a stroke left her paralyzed, one single mother in Mongolia considered taking her own life. But empowered by the support of Holt sponsors, she regained hope — and her children regained the courageous woman they call mom.


China Sponsorship — Holt advocates and donors meet children at one middle school in northeastern China who are receiving support for their education.

To Have a Life — Although Holt first began working with families and children affected by HIV/AIDS in China in 2005, it was just three years ago that we found a way to help orphaned and abandoned children who are living with HIV themselves.

My Life Carries the Love and Hope of Yours — The story of one young woman who, through the support of Holt sponsors and donors, received a life-changing surgery on her spine as well as the resources to attend school and go on to college.

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