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”

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”

Can a Sewing Machine Actually Help?

sewing machine in CambodiaWhen Narin’s dad lost his job because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Gift of Hope of a sewing machine saved their family.   

Narin’s family was empowered, independent and thriving.

At the beginning of 2020, they were doing well. They had food to eat, a stable income, the children were going to school, and 16-year-old Narin finally had the medical care he needed — all thanks to the generosity of Holt donors.

But then the coronavirus pandemic began. And their family plunged once again into crisis.

Continue reading “Can a Sewing Machine Actually Help?”

Update: How You’re Helping Children & Families During COVID-19

From giving emergency food, water and medical supplies to supporting tele-counseling and more, you are doing amazing things to help children and families during this global health crisis. Here are the latest updates from the field.

Over the past few months, we’ve received lots of questions from you about how the coronavirus crisis is affecting children and families you help around the world.

In many ways, their lives may look similar to yours right now: children are home from school, parents are out of work or trying to find ways to work from home, they’re staying home — or wearing a mask when they have to go out in public. Parents and Holt staff in the field are teaching and reminding kids to “Wash your hands!” and “Don’t touch your face!”

But for children without families and families in poverty — the children and families you support — the effects of this coronavirus pandemic could have been devastating.

We’ve shared a lot about these needs, and you can read more about them here.

While the crisis is still ongoing and children and families will continue to face needs in the weeks and months to come, right now we want to share some good news…

Because of you, to date, our staff tell us that not one child in our programs has gotten sick from the coronavirus. Children who were hungry now have food. Families in crisis are getting the help they need! 

Here are just some of the amazing updates on children and families you’ve helped since this crisis began:

Continue reading “Update: How You’re Helping Children & Families During COVID-19”

Just Look at These Smiles: Photos From International Day of the Child 2019

Every year on June 1, the International Day of the Child, Holt sponsors and donors help throw a massive party for children in our programs around the world! For children who have so little — children living in poverty with their families or in orphanages or foster homes without a family of their own — your generous gifts create a day of abundance, laughter, silliness and fun.

Just look at the smiles on the faces of these kids at last year’s parties… YOU made this happen. You have a beautiful heart, and we’re so grateful for you.

Continue reading “Just Look at These Smiles: Photos From International Day of the Child 2019”

They Are Safe, Because of You

A few months ago, we shared with you the story of Thak Kan and his family in Cambodia.

Eleven-year-old Thak Kan and his family had trouble sleeping every time it rained where they live in rural Cambodia. The roof would leak. The house would flood in heavy rain. But what worried them the most were the poisonous snakes and scorpions that crawled through the holes in the walls of their house seeking dry shelter. Thak slept on the ground with his parents and three younger siblings. And he was scared of snake bites.

Thak Kan and his family stand in front of their old house, which had holes in the walls and floor that let in snakes and scorpions.
Thak Kan and his family stand in front of their old house, which had holes in the walls and floor that let in snakes and scorpions.

Thak Kan’s family was one of the poorest families in their village in rural Cambodia. They could hardly afford food, much less the materials to build a safer house. But when, on Giving Tuesday, we asked you to help build new safe homes for families living in dangerous conditions, you responded with overwhelming kindness and generosity.

You helped provide home repairs and new houses for some of the most vulnerable families living in some of the worst conditions — including for Thak Kan and his family!

Continue reading “They Are Safe, Because of You”

I Won’t Give Up On Her

In the summer of 2016, Holt sponsor and then Holt employee Billie Loewen met a very sad, hungry girl in a remote village in Cambodia. She immediately signed up to sponsor her. Four years later, she receives an update that makes her heart soar.

In the first week of every month, I pull open the Excel spreadsheet with four years of monthly budgets. I open the Chase app and Wells Fargo and drift quickly over the charges, looking for anything amiss. The single line with a shortened title, “HOLT INTL CHILD,” and associated charge — $38 — always catches my eye.

Most months, paying bills is the only time I think about what it costs to sponsor the beautiful, shy, heartbreakingly sad little girl I met in a village in Cambodia on a scorching hot, dusty day in 2016.

Tiny, impossibly thin with straggly hair turning yellow from lack of nutrition, and a broad face with deep, serious eyes, 10-year-old Phal captured my entire heart the moment I saw her.

It’s been four years since I met her, and I think about her a lot.

Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.
Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.

Continue reading “I Won’t Give Up On Her”

Favorite 15 Stories of 2019

In 2019, we shared some amazing and inspiring stories from and about adoptees, adoptive families, sponsors, donors, and children and families in our programs around the world. It has been an incredible year at Holt — a year that you shared with us as you read, commented on and reposted our updates, stories and videos throughout the year.

Early last year, we merged with the adoption and child welfare agency WACAP — combining our resources and knowledge to help even more orphaned and vulnerable children both in the U.S. and in countries around the world. Throughout the year, Holt’s extraordinary donors made it possible to reach more than 280,000 children and families in 14 countries with everything from school supplies and bicycles to lifesaving food and critically needed surgery. Continue reading “Favorite 15 Stories of 2019”

Their Home is Not Safe

Families living without safe shelter face all kinds of threats — especially during the rainy season in Cambodia. Ten-year-old Linna lives in the city. Eleven-year-old Thak Kan lives in a more rural area. Neither of them have a safe place to live. 

Thak Kan sits between his parents as his mom wipes tears from her eyes and his dad holds his little sister in his lap. His little brother sits on the other side of his mom. Thak Kan looks down, his brow knit tightly together. Sleepy, he rests his head on his dad’s shoulder. He is 11, but looks small for his age.

“How do you feel when it rains really hard?”

“Scared,” he says. His voice is sweet, soft and high. Continue reading “Their Home is Not Safe”

Because They Are Brave

For generations, women and girls in Cambodia were taught not to speak their minds or stand up for their rights. But step by step, and with the support of sponsors and donors, they are learning to stand up, speak up and go after their dreams.

Sela sits in the Holt Cambodia office in Phnom Penh.
Sela sits in the Holt Cambodia office in Phnom Penh.

Sela’s voice quivers a bit as she speaks. She is slight and girlish, in jeans and a V-neck shirt, her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail and long bangs swept across her forehead. A large, black, practical watch overwhelms her slender wrist. Continue reading “Because They Are Brave”