The Children We Sponsor Are Real

For Jerrod and Melissa Adair, meeting their sponsored child in Mongolia was not just a blessing. It was a dream come true.

Jerrod and Melissa with her sponsored child, her sponsored child's twin sister, mom and Holt staff members in Ulaanbaatar.
Jerrod and Melissa with her sponsored child, her sponsored child’s twin sister, mom and Holt staff members in Ulaanbaatar.

Jerrod and Melissa Adair stood on a street corner in front of a large shopping mall in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. They had traveled nearly 6,500 miles from their home in Oklahoma, and now waited in anticipation with toys in their arms. When they turned the corner, they recognized them immediately. 

“One was dressed in a beautiful red dress, and as I turned the corner, I saw they’re twins,” Jerrod says. “A double blessing!”

Each holding onto their mom’s hand, the twin sisters walked toward them in matching frilly red dresses, striped tights and white sandals. For over a year, Jerrod and Melissa had read about, and prayed for, these girls and their family. But in that time, they had developed a special connection with one girl in particular — Narantuya, their sponsored child. 

Continue reading “The Children We Sponsor Are Real”

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”

Keeping His Promise

Two years ago, Holt donors gave Lhagvajav a brand new “ger” — a traditional Mongolian home — in which to raise his six children. He promised that he would work hard, and help his children succeed. He has lived up to his promise.  

Two years ago, we visited Lhagvajav and his family at their home on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. It was the last day of a week-long trip with a group of Holt donors who had traveled to see the work — and meet the children and families — they support through their generous giving. Before traveling, the donors also provided the funds to build new gers, or traditional Mongolian homes, for four families in greatest need.

Lhagvajav’s family was one of the four families that received a new ger. Continue reading “Keeping His Promise”

How The Gift of a Microloan Helped One Family in Mongolia

Without a job, Tserenjargal didn’t know how she could provide for her three children. Their poverty was far-reaching. But then she received the Gift of Hope of a business microloan, and this reached even further.

Mongolia poverty

The sub-zero wind whips Tserenjargal’s hair across her face as she trudges through the icy ruts leading back to her home.

Both arms full of rubber tire shreds and other plastics, she looks behind her to make sure her young daughter is following. Trying to help, her daughter holds two small pieces of trash in each of her hands.

They step into their ger — a traditional Mongolian, yurt-like home — where the air is only slightly less icy. Ariumbold, Tserenjargal’s husband, and their two other daughters sit on the bed. One of them is just a baby. Arimbold had a severe head injury earlier this year, and the doctors say he may never be the same. He certainly isn’t able to work. Continue reading “How The Gift of a Microloan Helped One Family in Mongolia”

The Sun Children of Mongolia

While traveling on the Holt Mongolia Vision Trip, adoptee Robyn MacKay visited an orphanage that she and other donors support in Mongolia. 

Robyn with a little girl wearing the same checked shirt at Mongolia'sSun Child Orphanage.
Robyn with a little girl at Sun Child Orphanage.

It was a perfect sunny day when I stepped off the bus in Darkhan City, Mongolia, about four hours north of the capital of Ulaanbaatar, close to the border of Russia. I was on Holt’s second Mongolia Vision Trip and we arrived at the Sun Child Orphanage, a program that we had not visited on the previous trip. As soon as we entered the gate onto the grounds of Sun Child, I knew something special was happening.  The children greeted us inside the gate and approached us one by one, with hugs, smiles and English phrases such as, “Nice to meet you.”   Continue reading “The Sun Children of Mongolia”

16-Year-Old Adoptee Launches GoFundMe For His Sponsored Child

After his sponsored child, Munkh, is seriously burned in an accident, 16-year-old adoptee Zack Myers launches a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Munkh’s hospital costs. He’s not sure he’ll meet his goal. But as more people read Munkh’s story, his Go Fund Me goes farther than he expects!

Zack with his sponsored child, Munkh (center), and Munkh’s brother in the Seattle Seahawks cap that Zack gave them when they met during the Mongolia Heritage Tour.

The relationship began at the Red Stone Informal School during Holt International’s heritage tour to Mongolia last summer. The school is located in the poorest district of Ulaanbaatar, and provides education, meals, hot showers and other supports for about 40 children, ages 6-12, each year. For these kids, the school is a welcome refuge from the many challenges of growing up in deep poverty. Continue reading “16-Year-Old Adoptee Launches GoFundMe For His Sponsored Child”

Rescued From Domestic Violence

You Gave This Family Warmth!

Gerel and Erhi when Holt first learned of their situation.

Because of you, Gerel and her daughters have a safe home, and hope for the future. But when we first met them nine months ago, Gerel was six months pregnant, and bone thin. She ate only flour so that her 3-year-old daughter, Erhi, would have enough to eat. Both Gerel and her daughter suffered from malnutrition.

Like so many women and children living in poverty in Mongolia, Gerel and Erhi stayed in an abusive situation because they had nowhere else to go. Continue reading “Rescued From Domestic Violence”

My Heart is Awake

For Courtney Hohenlohe Langenburg, Holt’s development officer, working on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children around the world is personal. And nowhere was she reminded of this more than in Mongolia… 

It started in 2015. After a meeting, Paul Kim came to my desk and said, “You know, we should totally do a donor team to Mongolia.” I replied with what I can only imagine was a very blank stare, “Why?”

He sold me on the idea and two and a half years later a team of us were off. I didn’t know a lot about our programs in Mongolia. I just knew it as a small program that Paul had talked about from time to time and that I had a few donors specifically interested in. I left for Ulaanbaatar with an open heart and an open mind.

I want to highlight one day — a day that was particularly hard. After we went to visit the Red Stone School, we went out to visit families who were living near the landfill. The staff in Mongolia took us to find families who needed help — and hope. These families were literally living among the trash of the landfill. In on ger, they were surviving on moldy bread they had found in the garbage.

As an adoptee, it’s impossible not to see yourself in every child who seems to have a less fortunate outcome. That day I found myself asking, “Why me, God? Why was my outcome so different?”

One of my donors, a mother of two children from Mongolia, once told me that the hardest part for her was looking at the ones who would be left behind. The ones who would not go home with a family.

I understand so clearly that I’ve been blessed with the privilege to speak up for those who did not get to go home. And those who do not have anyone to advocate for them. After that I week I understood why Paul, for years, had been pushing me towards Mongolia. He knew that if he could get people to see the program we would understand the need. My heart is awake and ready to answer the call for these kids!

Courtney Hohenlohe Langenburg | Development Officer

Learn more about Holt’s work in Mongolia. 

Holt’s 2017 donor team in Mongolia.

The Loveliest Place

At a special library and after-school program in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, children growing up in poverty discover a love of reading — and so much more. Read the poems that several children wrote in gratitude to sponsors and donors for their beloved library, full of dreams. 

Smiling shyly, 12-year-old Davaa brings her library book over to show me what she is reading. The title is in Mongolian Cyrillic, but the cover image seems familiar. It’s a group of Western-looking girls in Civil War-era dress, sitting around a table, eating pie.

“She is working on a book about little ladies,” explains our translator, May Gombo, a member of the Holt Mongolia staff.

Little ladies… Oh, it’s “Little Women!” I realize. Of course, Davaa is reading “Little Women” — the classic Louisa May Alcott story about the four March sisters, a story almost unavoidable if you’re a girl under 12 years old and growing up anywhere in the U.S. It’s perhaps surprising to see it here, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — about as far as you could possibly get from the book’s setting in Concord, Massachusetts. But it’s not at all surprising that the book’s timeless and universal themes would resonate with a young woman like Davaa. “Little Women” is a story about the bonds of sisterhood, and about a family learning to live with less after the loss of status and wealth. It’s about growing up, and about learning what’s most meaningful in life. Continue reading “The Loveliest Place”