You did some truly amazing things in the lives of children and families this past year.
As Holt sponsors, donors, volunteers and advocates, you gave your time, money and energy to make sure as many children as possible could grow up with the love, stability and opportunity they deserve. And because of you — because of your kindness and generosity — 283,212 children and families in 14 countries around the world received the life-changing care and services they needed in 2019!
Seriously, you’re amazing. And we’re so incredibly thankful for you.
Just to give you a glimpse, here are 10 specific ways that your heartfelt giving changed the lives of children and families in Holt programs last year:
You helped kids. LOTs of kids!
It is not an understatement to say that last year, you provided a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable children in the world. These children live in orphanages and urban slums, in rural areas with no running water or electricity, and in some of the hardest-to-reach communities in the most impoverished countries on the planet. Many have lost everything, including their families. Others had nothing but the love of their families, but were at serious risk of separating from them. Because of you, however, these children received food and clothing and the supplies to go to school. Their parents received the job skills training they needed to independently provide for their children. Some children joined loving families through adoption, while others reunited with their families after years spent in an orphanage. You gave each child and family the exact help they needed, when they needed it most.
Child sponsors and donors support children while they wait to rejoin their birth families or join a family through adoption. But they also support the advocacy work required to complete the adoption process for every child. Through your generous giving in 2019, you helped bring over 550 children and adoptive families together, both in the U.S. and in nearly every country where we have programs. Not only do you help children join families in the U.S., but more often than not, you help children join families in the country and culture of their birth!
Sometimes, parents feel they have no choice but to relinquish their child to an orphanage — hoping they will at least have food to eat and be able to go to school. In some countries, single moms relinquish their children because of the discrimination they face just for being a single mom, while other parents migrate to find jobs, leaving their children in the care of elderly relatives. But for over 31,000 children last year, you provided the vital support their families needed to stay together, and grow stable and self-reliant. By providing parents with job skills training, counseling, education, community support groups, financial literacy and additional support — like food, safe housing and free daycare — they finally have what they need to make lasting changes in their lives, and the lives of their children.
Sending kids to school may be one of the greatest things you did last year. When you provide the supplies, uniforms, books and scholarships kids need to attend school, you empower them to one day escape poverty. You protect them from child labor, child marriage, child trafficking and child abuse. You help them think and dream and imagine a different life. And you give them the tools to not only lift themselves out of poverty, but to lift their families and communities up and out as well. Last year, you gave this exact gift to 27,232 children and young adults — making it possible for them to attend school, preschool or college in countries around the world.
Without you, children would have gone to sleep hungry. They might have suffered the irreversible effects of malnutrition. They may have gone to school without breakfast and nothing to eat for lunch. But because of your kind and generous heart, over 22,000 children in places of greatest need — from Ulaanbaatar’s largest garbage dump to an orphanage in Haiti —received the nourishing food they needed to grow up healthy and strong in 2019.
In 2019, Holt donors gave over 5,000 Gifts of Hope — 1,736 of which went directly to empower parents with the tools and resources they need to independently provide for their children. Donors gave 143 gardens to grow vegetables and generate income, 28 small business microgrants, 29 gifts to provide job skills training to struggling parents, nine food carts and 125 sewing machines, repair kits or sewing machine and repair kit combos. They gave 37 gifts to empower single moms with the support and education they need to successfully parent their children. And they gave a whopping 1,365 gifts of livestock, including cows, chickens, goats, donkeys and more — helping parents nourish their children, and earn a stable income!
These gifts truly bring hope and dignity to a family by equipping them with everything they need to start a small, thriving business. You help them become strong, stable and self-reliant, and you help them keep their family together.
People often assume that kids living in orphanages have their basic needs met. Even parents struggling with poverty assume their kids will be better off in orphanage care. But so many orphanages around the world are overcrowded and underfunded, leaving thousands of children underfed, poorly clothed and neglected. Last year, you not only provided essentials like food, clothing and medical care for children growing up without families in orphanages. You helped provide nurturing caregivers for children in care, and in many cases, you helped children move from institutions to foster families and other family-like settings. After Holt merged with WACAP last February, you also helped support children in U.S. foster care. And you supported advocacy efforts to help children go home to the permanent, loving families they deserve — in the U.S., and around the world!
Whether you provided routine vaccines to prevent measles and other childhood diseases, supported physical therapy for kids with special needs, bought a child a pair of eyeglasses or helped ensure a child received lifesaving heart surgery, you completely changed the course of a child’s life in 2019 by giving the gift of medical care. You saved the lives of children, and in some cases, provided emergency medical care to their parents. You made it possible for children to grow and thrive and reach their full potential in life.
Over the past fifteen years, adoption has experienced a downward trajectory for many complex reasons. But while adoption is declining, one overwhelmingly positive trend is the number of children with special needs who join families every year. Today, the vast majority of children waiting for adoptive families in the U.S. have some kind of special needs. Some have a cleft lip or a heart condition. Others have Down syndrome or cerebral palsy. But we are so happy and excited to see more and more families open their hearts and homes to children with complex, often misunderstood special needs. We know that you believe in what we do: that EVERY child is beautiful and EVERY child deserves a home. And this past year, by giving to the Special Needs Adoption Fund, you made it possible to award adoption grants to 47 families — helping 48 children with special needs go home to the loving, permanent families they need and deserve! In total, 68 percent of children who joined adoptive families through international adoption in 2019 had a special medical or developmental need. Without your support and advocacy, many of these children may never have joined a family of their own.
You are part of a small but mighty group of exceptional people!
We are so grateful that you share our heart for children and families, and chose to give to Holt International in 2019. It is your compassion and generosity that makes all of this work possible, and you truly are exceptional. Thank you for sponsoring a child every month, or for giving a Gift of Hope in honor of a loved one, or for responding to one of our special appeals, or for giving just because you felt moved to give. With tremendous respect and admiration, we humbly thank you for everything you did to help children and families in need this past year!