Because Someone Cared

two photos of Pisey comparing when she first joined Holt's sponsorship program and after
Seven-year-old Pisey (left) and a photo of Pisey today.

Five years ago, Pisey’s family was one of the poorest in her small village community in Cambodia.

Seven-year-old Pisey and her family were living in a tiny home with her grandparents. They harvested rice from their small piece of land, but it was never enough to feed Pisey, her brother and her parents, and it was definitely not enough to sell for income.

Continue reading “Because Someone Cared”

First Child in Cambodia Joins Family Via Domestic Adoption

In Cambodia, Holt’s social work team has helped to develop three care alternatives for children growing up in institutional care — kinship care, foster care and for the first time, a formal, ethical system of domestic adoption. In March 2021, the first child in Cambodia joined her adoptive family via this new process. 

Chivy* is the first child to be united with an adoptive family via Cambodia’s new domestic adoption process.

In May 2020, early in the COVID pandemic, a baby girl was born in a hospital in Cambodia. She was small — weighing just over 5 pounds — but her eyes were dark and lovely and shining with light.

A bright new life had just begun.

But for her mom, this was not a day of celebration. As she looked in the eyes of her newborn daughter, she faced a heartbreaking decision.

Unmarried, and separated from the baby’s father, she feared her family’s reaction if she came home with a child. In many communities in Cambodia, the stigma of single motherhood remains alive and well — shaming women for having a child outside of marriage. This newborn girl’s mom had managed to keep her pregnancy a secret from her family. And on the day her daughter was born, she decided to relinquish her parental rights. Continue reading “First Child in Cambodia Joins Family Via Domestic Adoption”

The Brave Women of Cambodia

With the support of child sponsors, one brave group of women in Cambodia seek a better life for their children. This story originally appeared in Holt’s spring 2016 sponsorship magazine.

The Brave Women laugh during a group meeting.
The Brave Women laugh during a group meeting.

They call themselves the Brave Women.

Sitting in a circle on a large, green tarp under the shade of cashew nut trees, many of the women sit with their legs bent under them to one side, calves parallel, in the way so natural to Cambodians. It’s bright and hot, and little clouds of dust rise under the fidgeting feet of the children lingering to watch. Some women hold smaller children on their laps. Nearby, two large, cream-colored oxen graze on dry brush, their ears and tails swishing at flies.

The leader of this group is an older woman with strong hands and a small streak of gray hair near each of her temples. She speaks softly, but confidently in Khmer.

“We call ourselves the brave women because everyone has to be brave and speak up,” she says.

Continue reading “The Brave Women of Cambodia”

Holt Donors Help One Boy Find a Nurturing Home to Heal

Through Holt’s new donor-supported foster care program in Cambodia,  one boy with special medical needs finds a loving place to heal. 

Kiri’s mother brought him to the hospital for medical care, but then left and never came back. We may never know why she felt forced to make this heartbreaking decision…

He was just 1 year old and had a serious lung disease and a cleft palate. He was rushed to the ICU. Kiri stabilized, but for months he had no one to visit him. No one to hold and comfort him. Continue reading “Holt Donors Help One Boy Find a Nurturing Home to Heal”

How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?

Why we don’t give your $39 monthly sponsorship donation directly to your sponsored child’s family or caregivers, and how Holt uses your money to help your sponsored child instead.

A mom and her son in Colombia. Sponsorship helps this boy attend a daycare program where he receives a critical early education.
A mom and her son in Colombia. Sponsorship helps this boy attend a daycare program where he receives nourishing meals and a critical early education.

Every month, you faithfully send your $39 to your sponsored child … Sort of.

Technically, you send your gift to Holt International, trusting that we will properly steward your money and direct it to your sponsored child. While we do on occasion give cash directly to families to meet immediate identified needs, we don’t actually give your sponsored child and his or her family $39 in cash or check each month.

Why, you ask? Wouldn’t our sponsorship program be just as effective if we simply wrote a check each month?


Well, that’s a great question, and it is one that our sponsorship team often hears. Continue reading “How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?”

With COVID Microgrants, Sponsors and Donors Keep Families Together

Around the world, the COVID crisis has significantly increased the risk of family separation. But because of Holt sponsors and donors, vulnerable families have what they need to stay together. View a slideshow of families in Cambodia who received COVID microgrants to start small businesses they can sustain throughout the pandemic.

Around the world, the COVID-19 crisis is far from over. Cases continue to spike in communities where sponsors and donors support children, and families continue to struggle with loss of employment, school closures and sick family members. Continue reading “With COVID Microgrants, Sponsors and Donors Keep Families Together”

Meet This Year’s Class of Holt Scholarship Students in Cambodia

Every year,  exceptional students in Cambodia attend college on scholarship through Holt’s university sponsorship program. Their scholarship includes full tuition, English classes and a $30 monthly stipend to help cover additional expenses. Most of the students come from rural impoverished communities. Most are the first in their families to attend college. As girls face greater educational hurdles due to a legacy of gender bias in Cambodia, most scholarship recipients are also young women. Continue reading “Meet This Year’s Class of Holt Scholarship Students in Cambodia”

Clean Hands, Virus-Free Kids!

Holt donors gave 1,584 pieces of soap to students in Cambodia!

Hand-washing has been more important than ever this year. A simple bar of soap and clean water were some of the most important tools for keeping communities safe during the pandemic.

But for children and families in poverty, it’s not that simple. Soap was more expensive than ever because of high demand, and many communities don’t have clean water to spare for washing hands. Continue reading “Clean Hands, Virus-Free Kids!”

A New Uniform and Shoes Kept Chanrea Safe and in School

When Chanrea’s father died, her mom wasn’t sure she could keep her daughter in school.

Chanrea needed books and supplies, a backpack, a uniform and shoes. But her mom earned very little working in a garment factory in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She couldn’t afford to support Chanrea and her other three children on her own.

The extra costs to send Chanrea to school were just too much! Thankfully, a local Holt social worker heard about Chanrea and saw that she was at risk of dropping out of school. And through the generosity and compassion of Holt donors, Chanrea received everything she needed to continue her education. Continue reading “A New Uniform and Shoes Kept Chanrea Safe and in School”