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”

The Brave Girl

How a Holt child sponsor is empowering one young girl in Cambodia to stand up, speak up and become independent and strong. 

Sreyka holds her hands together palm to palm, a traditional way to say thank you in Cambodia.

In rural Kampot, Cambodia, Holt sponsors and donors help over 350 school-age children, and 200 preschool children, go to school. Many of these children are girls who would likely drop out early if not for the uniforms, supplies, books and lunch money their sponsors provide. At school, girls sit side by side with the boys. They learn to read and write, to speak up in class and voice their ideas. Continue reading “The Brave Girl”

Five Holt Cambodia Scholarship Students Graduate University

Every year,  through Holt’s donor-funded university sponsorship program, exceptional students in Cambodia receive scholarships to attend college — including full tuition, English classes and a $30 monthly stipend to help cover additional expenses. Most of the students come from rural impoverished communities, and most are the first in their families to attend college.

This year, despite setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduating class included five Holt scholarship students! The pandemic delayed final exam and graduation dates, and required students to finish their courses online. But these five students persevered — graduating with bachelor’s degrees in fields as diverse as engineering, tax accounting and social work, and going on to secure full-time employment with companies and nonprofits in Cambodia!

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 Holt Cambodia scholarship recipients!

Chantrea graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP).

Continue reading “Five Holt Cambodia Scholarship Students Graduate University”

A Backpack, a Uniform and a Leak-Proof Roof: How Sponsors and Donors Helped Linna Succeed

In September 2019, we met Linna, a Holt-sponsored child living with her family in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The leaky roof over her head made it hard for her to sleep at night when it rained — and even harder for her to concentrate in class. Her family also needed help covering the costs for her to attend school. Learn how Holt sponsors and donors worked together to help Linna succeed!

 Linna holds a birthday card from her sponsor!
Linna holds a birthday card from her sponsor!

Linna lives with her mom, dad and older brother in the slum community of Phnom Penh. She just turned 10, and was about to start 5th grade when we met her last year. She was washing dishes in a big metal pot on a wooden table in front of her home, still wearing the white button-down sailor shirt and long blue pleated skirt of her school uniform.

Her mom works in a garment factory. Her dad had a good job as a security guard, but now works as a fisherman. It was just Linna and her dad at home when we visited. Continue reading “A Backpack, a Uniform and a Leak-Proof Roof: How Sponsors and Donors Helped Linna Succeed”

Last Christmas Was a Good One!

Last Christmas, children around the world experienced a huge holiday celebration! They attended parties and received presents and ate special meals. None of these experiences would have been possible without the generosity of Holt sponsors and donors.

Children living in impoverished communities or orphanages around the world often miss out on Christmas and holiday celebrations. For children and families who barely have enough to survive each day, treats, parties and gifts wrapped in colorful paper are impossible luxuries.

But every child deserves to experience the joy and celebration of Christmas. That’s why every year, Holt sponsors and donors go above and beyond to bring Christmas to children all around the world.

When sponsors and donors give $25, a child receives a hand-picked gift, festive meal, treats and a special party with their family and friends! It’s a fun-filled day — giving them wonderful memories that they will cherish all year. This year’s celebrations may look a bit different due to COVID-19 precautions, but Holt staff and partners will work hard to make it just as special!

Take a look at last year’s joyous holiday celebrations around the world!

Continue reading “Last Christmas Was a Good One!”

Not Just Any House

Holt donors gave this family in Cambodia a safe, solid home! 

Narin and Vanna’s house was falling apart. These brothers lived with their mother, uncle, grandmother and grandfather. All six of them in a 200-square-foot space.

Raised five feet up on wooden stilts, their home was supposed to keep them safe and dry. But there were no doors to fill their entryways. The thatched walls had deteriorated. And there were foot-long spaces in between the wooden slats in the floor and walls.

This family’s old house gave no shelter from the rain and wind.

They got soaking wet in the rainy season. They had to walk carefully on the weak floor boards, and couldn’t lean up against the walls because they might break.

Their home was not safe.

But every child and family deserves to be safe in their own home. So Holt donors helped built them a new house!


This isn’t just any house, but a strong, secure one made of concrete. There are even separate rooms for sleeping and cooking. They never dared to dream of a home like this — one with secure walls and made with leak-proof roof tiles.  But now their dream is a reality.

Just look at the difference between their old house and this beautiful, safe new one!

Can you imagine being given the gift of a new home? It has completely changed Narin and Vanna and their family’s life.

Thank you for helping to keep them safe. Thank you for changing their lives in such an amazing and long-lasting way!


Learn more about how you can help give a safe, sturdy home to another child who needs one! 

When Families Migrate: One Mom’s Story

When Ary migrated from Cambodia to Thailand in search of work, she wasn’t sure when she would see her children again. Then Holt sponsors and donors helped her come back home. 

The first time Ary and her husband traveled to Thailand in search of work, they brought their four children with them. Their youngest was still breastfeeding, and Ary couldn’t stand the thought of leaving her children behind. Migrating on foot, they eventually came to a fast-moving river. There was no bridge or ferry to take them across. They would have to swim.

“My children nearly drowned because the water was very strong,” she says. Continue reading “When Families Migrate: One Mom’s Story”

How Migration Endangers Children: a Q&A, How You Can Help

Increasingly long periods of drought have made it difficult for families in rural areas to support their children without migrating for work.

What does migration have to do with Holt’s mission in Cambodia?

In every country where Holt works, Holt sponsors and donors help vulnerable children grow up with the love and stability of a family — either by helping them stay in the loving care of their birth family, or uniting them with a loving, permanent family through adoption. But in Cambodia, a country where more and more families migrate to big cities or neighboring countries in search of work, helping families stay together has become an even greater challenge. Continue reading “How Migration Endangers Children: a Q&A, How You Can Help”

Thank You For Helping Me Come Home

One boy’s story of life in a Cambodian orphanage, and how Holt sponsors and donors helped him come back home to his family.

Kea stands in front of his grandma's home.

When Kea lived in the orphanage, he slept on the bottom bunk in a room full of bunkbeds occupied by teenage boys who left him out of things and made him feel alone.

“I was the smallest,” he says. “That’s why I didn’t have many friends.”

In the morning, if he slept too late, the orphanage cook would throw water on him to wake him up. He would help clean the pigpen, eat a breakfast mostly made of rice and go to school. After school, he had to come straight back to the orphanage. He did his homework by himself. He ate more rice. And went to bed.

“No one took care of me,” he says. Continue reading “Thank You For Helping Me Come Home”