Special COVID-19 Video Series: An Update from VCT in India

In the second video in our series of interviews with Holt program directors around the world,  we have a message from Hepzibah Sharmila, the executive director of Vathsalya Charitable Trust — Holt’s partner organization in Bengaluru, India.

In this video update, Sharmila shares about the effects of the pandemic for children and families living in poverty, and how — with the support of Holt sponsors — she and her team have mobilized to meet their most critical needs.

We hope that you enjoy this update from the field. In this time that Holt staff can’t travel to gather information about the kids in Holt’s programs, we hope this video series encourages you with examples of all the good work you are helping to support around the world.

Click here to watch our special COVID-19 video update from Uganda! And stay tuned for more video interviews from the field!

Back to School, Around the World

All around the world this year, school will look different due to COVID-19. But whether children are physically in a classroom, or learning from home, your gifts will help children continue to learn and stay safe from early marriage and forced labor during this time of global crisis. Here are the current back-to-school plans in each of the countries where Holt kids live!

Whether a child is the daughter of migrant workers in India, lives near the Red Stone garbage dump in Mongolia, or has Down syndrome in Vietnam, education is vital to helping every child overcome poverty and reach their potential in life. It is also a cornerstone to the help that you provide through Holt.

But what about this year? What does back-to-school look like during a global pandemic?

 

Continue reading “Back to School, Around the World”

Her Best Example: Empowering Women and Children in Colombia

When Diana got pregnant at 17, she thought her dreams — and her dreams for her children — were over. Then she discovered Holt’s partner program in Colombia, empowering both women and children through education.

We visit Diana at her home on a warm weekday morning, and her neighborhood is quiet but for an occasional horseback rider clop-clopping along the long, straight dirt road out in front of her home. A small black dog lays in her doorway and a cat sleeps in her garden, which is lush but well-tended, with neat stone steps that descend from the road above down a story to her orange brick home. Diana and her husband built their home themselves, she says, “brick by brick.” Continue reading “Her Best Example: Empowering Women and Children in Colombia”

Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic Through Adaptability, Partnership and Innovation

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented challenges before the children, families and communities Holt serves. As already vulnerable populations struggle to adapt to the economic and social disruption of this global crisis, critical work in family strengthening, orphan care, and domestic and international adoption has taken on new dimensions.

While not typically an “emergency response” organization, dedicated Holt staff in deep collaboration with long-time partners have reacted with agility and innovation to meet emergency needs as well as continue delivering holistic services and care for orphaned children and vulnerable families across our country programs. The following are brief illustrations of how Holt teams have adapted to meet shifting needs in response to COVID -19.

Continue reading “Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic Through Adaptability, Partnership and Innovation”

Keeping Kids Connected During COVID-19

In Delhi, children felt isolation, bored and disconnected from their Holt-supported community during their city-wide lockdown. But then, they started a vlog to connect with each other — and it’s been more meaningful than they ever expected.

“Hello Friends! I’m Deepa,” says a young girl, giving a slight wave to the camera. Deepa wears her black hair in two low French braids fastened with purple scrunchies, and has a thin black choker necklace around her neck.

A friendly greeting and introduction like this is how 11-year-old Deepa starts all of her videos on the KARE Kids vlog. In her first video, she shares about herself, her life and her family. In a later video, titled “Arts and Crafts with Deepa,” she shows how to make a pop-up greeting card. In the one before that she shares yoga tips, and in another she tells everyone which superpower she would choose to have and why.

In her latest video on the vlog. Deepa shares about which superpower she would want to have.

Deepa is one of 28 children who contribute to the KARE Kids Vlog Channel. Although, with its classroom-like feel, it’s really more like a community of friends than just a YouTube channel. Each of these children lives in Delhi, India and are part of the Kinship Care and Relational Engagement or “KARE” program through Shishu Sangopan Griha (SSG), Holt’s partner organization in the city.

Continue reading “Keeping Kids Connected During COVID-19”

Every Child Deserves a Chance: Advocating for Older Kids From Colombia

To help find loving, permanent families for the many older children eligible for adoption in Colombia, Holt is now recruiting families for a special five-week hosting program.

In partnership with hosting agencies Kidsave and P143, Holt is seeking families to welcome an older child into their home for five weeks.

Julian grew up in Colombia, in protective custody. At young ages, he and his sister separated from their family because they couldn’t care for them the way they needed to be cared for. Julian looked out for his sister, who is two years younger. He is studious and shy, and very mature for his age.

Julian would have loved to have a family, and a home. But as he grew older, and watched other, younger kids join adoptive families, he slowly gave up hope of ever having a family — especially one that would adopt both he and his sister. No matter what, they wanted to stay together. Continue reading “Every Child Deserves a Chance: Advocating for Older Kids From Colombia”

The Children Left Behind

When a news story broke in China about children who died by suicide after their parents migrated without them, it became clear this was more than a crisis of poverty. It was a crisis of loneliness and loss.

When Luan's parents left, she was left in charge of her younger brother and her elderly grandparents.
When Luan’s parents left, she was left in charge of her younger brother and her elderly grandparents.

Luan doesn’t blame her parents for leaving. She loves them and forgives them for doing what they did. She even goes to visit her mom sometimes.

“I don’t know why she left me,” she says of her mom, “but I don’t blame her or hate her.”

Luan is among an estimated 60 million children in China who are growing up without their parents — left behind in rural villages in the care of elderly grandparents or relatives who struggle to provide for them on their own meager resources. In some cases, parents leave their children when they divorce, or when they remarry and their new spouse won’t accept children from a previous marriage. But most parents leave when they migrate to cities in search of work. They leave out of poverty, out of desperation. Continue reading “The Children Left Behind”