If the Rain Must Fall

Through the generous donations of Holt supporters in the U.S., 18 families in Cambodia receive critical roof and home repairs — protecting them from annual monsoon floods.

Hout Rung is a 34-year-old widow with six children. She lives in Cambodia, in a rural mountainous province marked by stunning landscapes and deep poverty. Every year, during monsoon season, the roof of her home leaked constantly. During floods, water would sometimes wash over their entire space — soaking all of their possessions, and leaving not a single dry spot for her children to sleep at night.

From June to October, Cambodia receives nearly 75 percent of its annual rainfall — often in sheets of heavy downpour nearly two out of every three days, with as much as 15-21 inches of rain per month. Monsoons dominate the climate during the rainy months, making even rainy places in the U.S. look relatively dry. To compare, notoriously rainy Seattle, Washington receives an average of 37 inches of rain each year, while southern regions of Cambodia — where Holt serves families — averages 51 inches.

For families like Hout Rung’s who live in the impoverished region where Holt works, the rain is a big worry. During monsoon season, flooding, erosion and heavy wind often cause tremendous damage to homes and streets. And although many homes in Cambodia are built on stilts to avoid the water, sometimes flood levels reach higher than the home’s floors. In time, the wooden stilts that support the home will grow rotten and decayed, and may eventually wash away.

Hout Rung[1]
Hout Rung is a 34-year-old widow with six children. The roof of her home leaked constantly, and during flooding, water would sometimes wash over their entire space. Now, their home is built on higher stilts and the zinc roof keeps the space dry.
Continue reading “If the Rain Must Fall”

Going Above and Beyond: One Sponsor’s Gift

After seeing photos of their sponsored child’s home in Cambodia, two Holt sponsors feel moved to act – providing funding above and beyond their monthly sponsorship gift to cover the cost of a new roof and walls for the child and her family.

In October, two Holt sponsors — a couple – opened the latest update from Holt about their sponsored child, Sreytouch, who lives with her parents in Cambodia. In their latest update, Sreytouch stood in front of her house — a single room built on stilts with a thatched roof and walls. Sreytouch’s sponsors, who requested not to be named in this story, felt a tug at their hearts after seeing where their sponsored child lived, and what life must be like during wet and cold winters. The sponsors called Holt’s sponsorship department to ask if they could pay to fix Sreytouch’s roof, and if so, what the cost would be.

In two days, Holt’s director of the Southeast Asia program returned the sponsors’ call with a quote for the cost of the repairs.

The sponsors decided that they would not just pay to fix the roof, but the walls as well! Continue reading “Going Above and Beyond: One Sponsor’s Gift”

Gifts of Hope

Can you put a price tag on Hope? Can you calculate the worth of something so abstract?

The worth of something is, after all, relative — it changes from place to place, person to person, currency to currency. Hope is relative too, and looks different for everyone.

By definition, hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

The expectation that something is about to change.

Something is about to get better.

Hope is also a feeling — a very powerful one — that drives us to continue to push through hard situations, eager to find the light in the darkness.

Continue reading “Gifts of Hope”

Rights of Children

On November 20, the world will celebrate an important landmark anniversary for human rights and children.

The day marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1989 United Nations treaty that — for the first time in history — defined the civil, economic, political, social and cultural rights of children. It also set goals to improve the livelihoods of children around the world.

Today, as we reflect on Holt’s nearly 60 years of serving vulnerable children and families around the world, we also celebrate the ways in which the lives of children around the world have improved thanks to the Convention and the work of dedicated children’s rights advocates.

In the same breath, we also recognize areas where more work needs to be done to reach the goals of the Convention, and how Holt can push forward — working toward a more just and equal world, where every child is valued and loved and no child is alone. Continue reading “Rights of Children”

An Equal Chance

With the support of Holt sponsors, a young girl in Cambodia stays in school and remains in the loving care of her grandparents.

Champey* lives with her grandparents in a rural province in southern Cambodia. She is 11 years old and in the sixth grade at a primary school about a mile from her home. When she was just a year old, her parents moved to Phnom Penh to seek work — leaving their infant daughter in the care of her elderly grandparents. When Champey became old enough, she went to live with her parents in the city. She was unable to attend school in Phnom Penh, however, and spent her days cleaning, cooking and looking after her younger brother.

A year later, her parents sent her back to her home province to once again live with her grandparents. Here, she had little to call her own. But she could ride her bike through the open fields of rice surrounding her village. She could sleep peacefully in her grandparents Khmer house, built on stilts to protect them from the annual rains. And finally, with the help of Holt’s sponsorship program, she could return to school.

Since 2005, Holt has worked alongside Pathways to Development — our partner organization in Cambodia — to sponsor children and strengthen families in Takeo, Champey’s home province. Takeo is a particularly impoverished region of the country, and children here are more vulnerable to malnutrition, separation from their families and dropping out of school.

Sponsored children and their families in Takeo benefit from many different programs that Holt and Pathways maintain in the community — including programs to support the nutrition, health and education of children and families as well as a microloan program to help families become economically stable and self-reliant.

Champey and her grandmother stand before their home in Takeo province.

To address the immediate nutritional needs of families in Takeo, Holt and Pathways provide them with emergency food packets containing rice, cooking oil, iodized salt and protein. They maintain a community rice bank for families during the three-four months before rice harvest, when they often experience a shortage of food. They also provide trainings to educate families on a balanced diet, signs of malnutrition and healthy eating. And once per month, our partner staff holds community breakfasts in each village — a time when children and families can come together, socialize and participate in educational activities that support their overall wellbeing.

Continue reading “An Equal Chance”

New Sponsorship Documents

We have exciting news for our awesome child sponsors this week!

Soon, sponsors of children living in Cambodia, China, India, Mongolia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam will receive additional and personalized updates from their sponsored child. Sponsors of children in Ethiopia will begin receiving these updated in early 2015!

Over the next few months, watch your mailbox for this envelope — or, if you receive paperless updates, keep an eye on your email.

Inside, you will find a drawing, photo or letter from your sponsored child! We are excited for sponsors to learn more about the child they help support, and the children in our programs are excited to share more about themselves with you.

Most sponsors will receive at least one additional update from their child every year — building on the quarterly updates they already receive from Holt. Some sponsors may even receive more than one.

As our overseas program staff receive more training and improved technology, we hope to continue to expand and improve communications between sponsors and their sponsored child.

If you have questions about when you will receive a photo, drawing or letter from your sponsored child, you can call us at 1-541-451-0731, email us at sponsorship@holtinternational.org or visit the MyHolt Sponsorship Service Center by clicking here.

Check out a few of the beautiful photos, letters and pictures we’ve received from children in our programs so far: Continue reading “New Sponsorship Documents”

How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?

Every month, you faithfully send your $34 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. We don’t, in fact, actually give your sponsored child and his or her family $34 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 hears often.

There are many reasons why Holt doesn’t give cash to the children and families in our programs, but the biggest reason is that we care deeply about those who we serve and we want every mother, father and child in our programs to be successful. Remember, Holt’s ultimate goal is to ensure that every child has a permanent, loving family. But while our goal for every child is the same, the way we work toward that goal is different for every child. Continue reading “How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?”

Holt Sponsorship transformation

Every day, more than 7,000 children we serve around the world receive life-saving nutritious food, medical care and access to education. Their families are growing stronger and more stable with the help of vocational training, free daycare programs, medical care and counseling — even forming community groups for support and networking, and their children are learning about sanitation and nutrition.

These are Holt’s sponsored children — children who, through the generous monthly gift of Holt supporters, are thriving and learning and finding hope for the future.

One of those children is Dawit — a young boy living with his family in rural Ethiopia. He has been in Holt’s sponsorship program for a little over two years, and in that time his life and the lives of his family have changed dramatically. You can see the change in his photos, the ones a Holt social worker snaps of him every six months. You can see his face change from sunken and sad to bright and smiley.

Two years ago, Dawit’s family was very poor and did not have enough land to generate income or grow crops to feed their family. They lacked basic sanitation and enough food too eat. Dawit suffered from malnutrition, but his parents could not afford to take him to a hospital.

Then, Holt helped Dawit’s family receive a cow, which provided nourishing milk every day — with extra to sell for income. When the cow had calves, Dawit’s family could sell them and add the earnings to a savings account. Soon after, Dawit developed pneumonia, and thanks to the support of Holt, he was able to see a doctor and receive the antibiotics he needed to grow healthy. Slowly, he grew stronger and taller, and he added weight.

Now, Dawit has close, loving relationships with his mother and father, and he is especially fond of his eldest brother. He likes playing soccer and marbles and he has many friends. Dawit is in school, and in the winter his parents paid for his school fees with the income from a calf. Each day, the whole family is stronger and more stable. Dawit is on track developmentally, and he is not malnourished. He is cheerful, friendly and respectful.

We celebrate victories like Dawit’s and his family’s, but we also know there are many children who need the same support that Dawit receives.

We encourage you to sponsor a child today. It is truly life changing — and the proof is in the pictures!


Sometimes, nothing makes a point as well as a picture…

An infographic compiled by a website for healthcare administrators and those looking for research about the medical field titled “The Kid’s Aren’t Alright” combined data from World Bank, UNICEF and International Living to subjectively rank countries on the quality of life they offer children, based on per-capita GDP, infant mortality, safety and more.

When you choose a variable in the infographic, such as the percentage of children  vaccinated against polio or enrolled in primary schools, watch the map transform into a color-coded index illustrating which regions perform the best and worst in that area. Countries colored red scored the worst, while countries colored seafoam green excel. There are six color-ratings possible, following a rainbow spectrum.

Naturally, at Holt, we zoomed in on the countries where we work. We noticed some immediate trends — many of which directly relate to the work we do overseas combating child abandonment, poverty and family instability.

Below, we break down how the infographic rates in countries where we work, and what we are doing to battle some of the issues most prevalent in the region.

Check out the infographic here.

Produced By Healthcare Administration Continue reading “Infographic”

This is Your Last Chance to Give a Special Birthday Gift to Vulnerable Children

This is your LAST CHANCE to send a birthday gift to a child in Holt’s care!

One of the best ways to show your love for vulnerable children is to wish them a happy birthday.  Last month, we sent a letter informing you of our plans to throw one big birthday party for all the children we’re helping worldwide on June 1 — the International Day of the Child.

Join us as we celebrate the precious children in our care, and give today!

Your online Birthday Gift today of $25 or more will help provide special party treats, such as: a delicious birthday meal, festive party decorations, exciting games and activities, Bible stories and songs, birthday goodies and even essentials like clothing and shoes!

Even though you and I can’t reach out in person to every child on their individual birthdays, we can celebrate every child in our care on this one special day!

Please help us make children in our care feel extra special on June 1. Give a Birthday gift today!

Thank you!