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”

A Dream To Save

Before a sponsor starting supporting her, Mekdes wasn’t sure if she could even stay in school in her rural community of Ethiopia  — much less follow her dream of becoming a doctor.

Eighteen-year-old Mekdes dreams of becoming a doctor one day.  Today, she is close to realizing her dream. Ten years ago, however, Mekdes’ future seemed uncertain.

Though bright and driven, Mekdes faced overwhelming challenges, and her family’s economic status seemed to dictate another path entirely — a path not nearly as bright, and certainty not one that would lead to a medical profession, or even an education.

Before sponsors and donors began supporting them, Mekdes and her family struggled to overcome their dire circumstances. But, today, they have hope.
Before sponsors and donors began supporting them, Mekdes and her family struggled to overcome their dire circumstances. But, today, they have hope.

Continue reading “A Dream To Save”

Bringing Education To Their World

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. 

Cambodia

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”

Confidence, and a Cow

When her husband became ill, Dinknesh suddenly had to provide for her family on her own. She didn’t know where to begin, and her family quickly fell into poverty. Then sponsors and donors came together to empower Dinknesh, giving her two of the most powerful Gifts of Hope — confidence, and a cow.

Like many women in rural Ethiopia, Dinknesh had a more traditional role in her family before her husband fell sick. She worked incredibly hard to maintain her home and care for her two sons while her husband, a farmer, worked the fields to bring in an income and meet the basic needs of their family.

But when he became ill, he could not work and was bedridden for months.

Suddenly, Dinknesh had to provide for her children on her own.

Continue reading “Confidence, and a Cow”

It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Lives in Ethiopia

Shinshicho — a district capital in southern Ethiopia.

Ten years ago, Holt sponsors began supporting children and families in the impoverished community of Shinshicho — a district capital in southern Ethiopia where goats and cattle still roam the unpaved roads that lead through town, few homes or businesses have electricity or running water, and donkeys are the primary mode of transportation.

Here, as throughout Ethiopia, years of civil war and drought have robbed many families of their livelihoods, while famine and illness have robbed many children of their parents. Most families in rural Ethiopia subsist on what they can grow on small plots of land, which is often just barely enough to feed their families. But in 2008, when Holt began working alongside local leaders and community elders, life began to change for many children and families in Shinshicho. Continue reading “It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Lives in Ethiopia”

How a Cow Helped One Mom Save Her Family

When you give the gift of a cow, you can change a family’s life. In one impoverished community in rural Ethiopia, Holt donors have become like celebrities for all of the generous gifts of hope — especially cows — that they have given to so many families over the years. But as the story of one young mom shows, the greatest gift is often not the gift itself — but what it inspires in the hearts of those who receive it.

Meselech’s home is the smallest in her village.

A traditional, conical-shaped hut made of mud and eucalyptus branches, it’s the same style home as most families’ homes in her community. But the thatching on the roof has worn so thin that when it rains, Meselech and her children have to huddle to stay dry under the broad, droopy leaf of a “false banana” tree.

Meselech, her husband and her four children sleep inside this one-room home — some on elevated beds, others on the floor.

They are six people, living side by side in one room. But they are not alone. Continue reading “How a Cow Helped One Mom Save Her Family”

In Service of Others

When adoptee and physical therapist Kayla Covert travels to Ethiopia as part of a medical mission trip, she discovers the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself.

Kayla (center) teaches staff at the Shinshicho Primary Hospital how to use a pulse oximetry monitor.

We are constantly surrounded by privilege — the comfortable couch where we watch movies, the luxury cars that take us to work, and the gorgeous kitchens where we cook too much for Thanksgiving dinner. This realization came clear to me as I reflected upon my upbringing and current lifestyle. A Korean adoptee adopted through Holt International in 1988, I was raised by a kind and generous family in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA. My childhood was filled with dance classes, soccer tournaments and homework that eventually produced a doctorate in physical therapy. I spent 28 years of my life enjoying every benefit that the middle class provided, including the ability to travel and explore other cities and countries.

Traveling nowadays has become a status symbol and, for the most part, a common way tobecome “cultured.” It’s easy to visit tourist attractions, lay on white sand beaches, or take big bus tours that offer you a front-seat glimpse of the country. While these trips can be rejuvenating and enlightening, they are not the kind of trips that shatter your reality and open your eyes to a completely different world. Continue reading “In Service of Others”

A Language We All Share

When adoptive mom Cindy Lamb visits with students at the Yesus Mena Deaf School in Ethiopia, her fluency in sign language helps her communicate. But it’s another language that creates the most soulful connection. 

This past October, my husband, Steve, and I had the rare privilege of participating in the perfect intersection of a lifetime of interests and passions when we traveled to Ethiopia on a medical mission trip with Holt.  Holt helped build and still supports Shinshicho Primary Hospital and also supports Yesus Mena Deaf School in the same town. Steve is a family practice physician and I am an RN with a graduate degree in deaf education. Twenty-two years ago, we adopted a 4-year-old daughter through Holt who is deaf. So, when we were asked to participate in a medical mission trip to Shinshicho with an opportunity to also be involved with the deaf school, we were immediately determined to be a part of the adventure. Continue reading “A Language We All Share”