When 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.
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.
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:
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.
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’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!
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.
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.
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.
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’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”
Imagine your sponsored child receiving her first school uniform or the news that he can attend school on a one-year scholarship. Imagine the opportunities that an education will provide her, knowing that going to school helps prevent gender-based violence and discrimination.
Sponsorship — and your commitment to your sponsored child — empowers boys and girls around the world to overcome poverty and achieve their dreams.
At a preschool in Cambodia’s impoverished Kampot province, a sponsored girl leans on her desk. In many rural areas of Cambodia, children do not have access to a preschool education, resulting in delayed social, language and academic development. But in Kampot, children now attend one of five sponsor-supported preschools where they have a safe space to eat snacks, learn skills and prepare for life-long success in school. Students like this young girl can now pursue their dreams by receiving an early education. Continue reading “Bringing Education To Their World”
In Cambodia’s impoverished Prey Veng province, children and families live in conditions that no one should ever live in.
Every day, these families sleep, study and eat their meals under roofs that leak, inside palm leaf walls – unstable homes that cannot protect them from the rain and wind. But because of Holt’s generous donors, many families in this community now have hope. Working alongside local partner Child and Life Association (CLA), Holt donors recently provided new homes and necessary renovations for six of the most vulnerable families in Pre Veng province.
Through these new and safe living conditions, these families’ lives have dramatically changed.