In honor of National Foster Care Month, learn about Holt’s longstanding foster care program in Thailand as well as one first-generation foster mother who cared for 13 children over 20 years.
In 1977, Mrs. Bayan and her family became one of Holt’s first foster families in Thailand — joining the program just one year after Holt introduced foster care as a more nurturing alternative for children living in the country’s orphanages.
“Mrs. Bayan was a full-time housewife and Mr. Boonsong, her husband, was a captain serving the Royal Thai Army. They were both in their 40s, and their two children — a son and a daughter — were in high school by then. The family was residing in an army residential compound in Bangkok,” shares Kobgarn Trakulvaree, executive director of Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF), Holt’s local partner in Thailand. “All members in this foster family loved children and were always very happy to welcome the homeless little ones to their heart and their home.” Continue reading “Honoring First-Generation Foster Mothers in Thailand”
Why we don’t give your $39 monthly sponsorship donation directly to your sponsored child’s family or caregivers, and how Holt uses your money to help your sponsored child instead.
Every month, you faithfully send your $39 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. While we do on occasion give cash directly to families to meet immediate identified needs, we don’t actually give your sponsored child and his or her family $39 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?
Tha Sala Learning Center in southern Thailand is a place for sponsored children and families to grow. This story originally appeared in Holt’s spring 2018 sponsorship magazine.
Before completing any other task, children first move fresh dirt into the plant beds.
A mother and daughter in sponsorship carry a basket of freshly grown mushrooms.
Pineapples — which the children are planting here — are just one of many fruits and vegetables that grow at the learning center. At Tha Sala, children and families also learn to grow mangos, mangosteen, rose apples, sugar cane, rambutans, cashews, corn, cucumbers, green tea leaves, mulberries and more! Families in need take home some of this food, and they sell anything extra at the market — giving children and families in sponsorship the opportunity to learn how to manage a small business.
Fun obstacle course activities dot the property, and each one of them teaches an important life lesson. As they balance on the rope bridge, these sisters learn that sometimes you have to work hard and develop strategies in order to avoid or work through bad situations.
Daris holds onto his sister, Nada, as she balances on a suspended pipe. This exercise stresses the importance of community — how it is easier to walk forward in life when you have help from others.
A boy crawls through the last of nine tires, lined up to form a tunnel. This represents the nine months that a child grows inside a mother’s womb — one of the many reasons to show her appreciation and respect.
Children cheer and root each other on as they wait in line to complete the next obstacle.
Eleven-year-old Madee, pictured here crossing the rope bridge, has attended the learning center since she was in kindergarten. What does she love most? Cooking, growing vegetables and — on extra special days — swimming in the canal at the back of the property!
Walking through the gates of Tha Sala Learning Center is like stepping into a greenhouse with no walls.
The question our sponsorship staff encounters most frequently is, “Can I write my sponsored child?”
We think this is a fantastic question! It shows that you take your sponsorship seriously — often sending positive thoughts or prayers to your sponsored child, and wondering how he or she is doing. Your desire to connect with your sponsored child is one that warms our hearts — and your sponsored child’s, too!
Generally, the answer is yes, you can write your sponsored child. But, there are a few stipulations, mostly designed to ensure your sponsored child and his or her family remain safe and successful in our programs.
Holt adoptee Kanya Sesser skateboards, skis, races, models and surfs. Born without legs, Kanya has become an inspiration to friends and fans around the world with her motto, “No legs, No limits.”
“I have always been a positive person — largely in thanks to the people who have cared for me throughout my life.
The people in Thailand who raised me until I was 5 helped me to become a good, calm person. The monks taught me a lot as a kid by showing me love and forgiveness, and I learned the value of Buddhism. Even after I left their care, they kept in touch with me while I lived in Thailand. They taught me a lot that has helped me all through my life.
And although I was initially scared of leaving Thailand with my new family, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I am doing if it wasn’t for my adoptive parents. My mom and dad have supported me every day and all though my sports. My mom, I love her. We have a great relationship. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
An adoptive family shares the thank you letter they wrote to the Holt sponsors who made it possible for their daughter to stay in a loving foster family in Thailand before she joined her family in the U.S. This story was originally posted to the Holt blog in March 2015.
Dear Holt Sponsor,
I cannot describe the gratitude that our family feels for the support that you have provided over the past 2.5 years in our daughter’s life. With that, I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out to you and give you a personal and heartfelt thank you along with some updates on her. Continue reading “Thank You, Sponsor, For Caring For Our Daughter”
When we ask sisters Mew and Nan if they’ve kept any of the letters they’ve received from their sponsors over the years, their mom already has them on hand. She gives a small stack of letters to each of her girls.
“No, that one’s mine!” Nan says to her sister, excitedly exchanging her stack of letters with Mew’s.
Mick, their social worker, laughs. “They know exactly which one is their sponsor!” she says.
Among the letters are birthday and Christmas cards, as well as well wishes for back-to-school season. The girls proceed to show us their stuffed animals and ride a small tricycle that they keep near the back door of their kitchen — toys they received because of the support of their sponsors.
In addition to providing these fun things, their sponsors are the ones who make it possible for Mew and Nan to go to school.
This is an excerpt from a longer story that appeared in Holt’s fall 2017 sponsorship magazine. Read it here!
An interview with Kobgarn Trakulvaree, executive director of Holt Sahathai Foundation, Holt’s partner organization in Thailand.
How is the pandemic affecting children and families in Holt’s Thailand programs?
Ten percent of the families we are helping are actually unemployed due to the pandemic. The rest have experienced pay reduction. Prior to the pandemic, the average monthly income of these families was 5,000 Thai baht per month, or around $167 U.S. dollars. Since the pandemic, most of the average income is reduced to only 3,000 baht a month — around $90 U.S. dollars. And the minimum, the lowest pay that we have found was only $17 dollars … So it’s not hard to imagine that these families are facing really hard situations. Continue reading “How COVID-19 is Affecting Sponsored Kids in Thailand: a Q&A”
Since the pandemic first began spreading in early 2020, it’s changed life for everyone — but especially children in orphanage care. Here’s what life looks like now for children in orphanages from China to India to Thailand.
Water bottles. Laptops. Hand sanitizer. Masks. More caregivers. Formula. Medical supplies.
These are just some of the materials and resources needed to care for children in orphanages through this continuing pandemic.
Over the summer, we shared with you about the devastating needs children are facing in orphanages around the world. Due to the pandemic, adoptive families are unable to travel to bring their children home. At the same time, more and more children are coming into care because their families are in crisis. And costs around the world rose become of the pandemic. This left a stark reality: so many children in orphanages, but not enough resources to care for them all.
In the countries where you support children, orphanages were low on diapers, food, formula, caregivers and more. But thankfully, through your generosity, you helped meet many of these needs.
Here are just some of the ways Holt donors helped:
All around the world this year, school will look different due to COVID-19. But whether children are physically in a classroom, or learning from home, your gifts will help children continue to learn and stay safe from early marriage and forced labor during this time of global crisis. Here are the current back-to-school plans in each of the countries where Holt kids live!
Whether a child is the daughter of migrant workers in India, lives near the Red Stone garbage dump in Mongolia, or has Down syndrome in Vietnam, education is vital to helping every child overcome poverty and reach their potential in life. It is also a cornerstone to the help that you provide through Holt.
But what about this year? What does back-to-school look like during a global pandemic?