At the end of 2020, Liya, Cam, Purev and Guneet represented the greatest needs children were facing after a difficult year. One month after Holt donors generously stepped up to help, see how these children are doing now!
In the last months of 2020, we shared about some of the greatest, most urgent needs children around the world were facing as part of our President’s Top Priority Campaign for Children 2020. After such a difficult year, from stay at home orders to lost income to schools closing, children were truly in crisis.
The top needs Holt staff around the world identified were: malnutrition in Ethiopia, overcrowded orphanages, children living and working in the garbage dump in Mongolia, and children and families who were homeless or on the brink of homelessness. Each need came to life through a child and his or her story. These children were Liya in Ethiopia, Cam in Vietnam, Purev in Mongolia and Guneet in India.
While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be long-lasting, Holt donors responded generously, providing help to these children who needed it the very most. It’s only been a month since the President’s Top Priority Campaign for Children 2020 concluded, but already children are starting to get the help they need.
Here are the latest updates we’ve received about Liya, Cam, Purev and Guneet since they began receiving help!
*Children’s names changed to protect their confidentiality
Malnutrition in Ethiopia: Liya
Liya was one of 3,754 children in rural Ethiopia whom Holt community health teams diagnosed with acute malnutrition last year.
Taking one look at Liya, you could tell she was dangerously thin. Her ribs stuck out of her tiny body, and she acted too lethargic for a child her age. When her food supply suddenly plummeted due to increased poverty because of the pandemic, she began to deteriorate quickly. She didn’t even act hungry anymore.
But with support from Holt donors, Liya was admitted to the nutritional rehabilitation center at the Holt-supported Mother and Child Hospital. She stayed there with her mother and began to receive the vital nutrition she needed — expertly administered as to not overwhelm her frail body.
“Kids can catch up pretty fast,” says Emily DeLacey, the director of Holt’s nutrition program. “Weight is the fastest thing to respond to nutrition therapy.”
That’s why, already, Liya is looking so much better.
Her weight and measurements are back within a healthy range, and has her normal 2-year-old energy back! Her family and Holt staff in Ethiopia continue to monitor her. But you helped her make it through the dangerous season of malnutrition!
Children in Orphanages Due to COVID-19: Cam
All around the world, parents have felt forced to place their children in orphanages out of desperation caused by poverty and the effects of COVID-19. And now, orphanages are overcrowded and under-resourced.
When Cam’s mom lost her income because of COVID-19 lockdowns in Vietnam, she made the only choice she felt she had. Unable to feed and provide for all of her children — especially in light of having a new baby — she made a heartbreaking decision. She sent 13-year-old Cam to live in an orphanage.
At Holt, we believe that families should stay together, and that the best place for every child is in a family. That’s why family reunification is such a big part of the work Holt donors support. But the solution is never simple.
Today, Cam is still living in an orphanage. While this is still not ideal, she is receiving the nutritious food and education that she would not receive if living with her family right now. Most importantly, Cam is maintaining a strong connection with her mother. Her mother promises to bring Cam home each weekend and during school holiday breaks.
The long-term goal for Cam and her family is for them to be reunified — permanently. And because of support from Holt donors, there is hope.
In the meantime, Cam’s mother will continue to receive the support she needs to independently provide for her children, through income generating support and counseling. We pray that someday soon they can all live safely, together, under one roof.
Children Living in the Garbage Dump in Mongolia: Purev
Purev lives with her single mother and five other siblings in Mongolia. She attends the Red Stone School, a special informal school for children whose families work in or live near the city’s largest garbage dump. But when the pandemic began, her life became even more difficult.
Purev’s mom could no longer collect recyclables from the garbage dump to sell for an income, and the Red Stone School was forced to close. Purev and her family suddenly had no income. And they stopped receiving the daily meals she and her siblings used to eat at school. They needed help.
But because of generous Holt donors, they’ve received the critical help they needed in this difficult time.
Holt staff distributed emergency food boxes of flour, rice, cooking oil, and even meat to Purev and her family. They also received sanitation items like soap, hand sanitizers and masks to keep them and other families in their community safe from COVID-19.
In this photo, Purev holds a sign, expressing her thanks: “Dear sponsors [donors], you are helping me get through of COVID-19. You are helping to keep us fed and nourished. Thank you!”
Her mother also wished to convey her thanks.
“I can’t thank enough for the support Holt gives us each month,” she says. “I promise I’ll take good care of the children and pay attention to their health and education.”
Children Without a Home: Guneet
For families already living in poverty, the effects of the pandemic were devastating. Children and families in India were among those hit the very hardest. Just like Guneet and his family.
When India began its two-month-long lockdown, Guneet’s mom could no longer go to work. His family suddenly had zero income. They didn’t have any money for food, let alone for rent.
Guneet’s family, and families like his, experienced one of the most critical needs we presented to Holt donors at the end of 2020. And right away, you responded.
Guneet and his family immediately enrolled in a special new program by Holt’s partner organization in Delhi, Shishu Sangopan Griha (SSG). Now, they receive funds each month to help cover their rent and whatever other basic costs they needed help meeting.
Thanks to the support from Holt, Guneet was able to re-enroll in online school. He and his family began eating nutritious meals every day. They no longer fear missing rent payment and having to live on the streets.
“The impact that has happened in my life during this crucial time has made me realize how fragile and difficult life can be,” says Guneet’s mom. “And yet I am thankful for the help that made me overcome those extreme moments for bare survival.”
Thank you, Holt donors, for helping children to survive and rise above these most urgent needs of 2020! We are honored to continue serving children with you in 2021.