How COVID-19 is Affecting Sponsored Kids in Thailand: a Q&A

An interview with Kobgarn Trakulvaree, executive director of Holt Sahathai Foundation, Holt’s partner organization in Thailand.

The generous gifts from Holt sponsors and donors helped provide everything masks and sanitizer to storybooks and toys to keep children occupied during the pandemic.
The generous gifts from Holt sponsors and donors helped provide everything from masks and sanitizer to storybooks and toys to keep children occupied during the pandemic.

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”

A Look Inside Orphanages in 2020

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:

Continue reading “A Look Inside Orphanages in 2020”

Back to School, Around the World

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?

 

Continue reading “Back to School, Around the World”

Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic Through Adaptability, Partnership and Innovation

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented challenges before the children, families and communities Holt serves. As already vulnerable populations struggle to adapt to the economic and social disruption of this global crisis, critical work in family strengthening, orphan care, and domestic and international adoption has taken on new dimensions.

While not typically an “emergency response” organization, dedicated Holt staff in deep collaboration with long-time partners have reacted with agility and innovation to meet emergency needs as well as continue delivering holistic services and care for orphaned children and vulnerable families across our country programs. The following are brief illustrations of how Holt teams have adapted to meet shifting needs in response to COVID -19.

Continue reading “Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic Through Adaptability, Partnership and Innovation”

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”

Preparing For The Unexpected — And The Expected!

How the “Child-Specific Preparation” tool helped two families anticipate their child’s needs, and ease their transition home.

Two-year-old Nam Fon with her parents.

A 2-year-old girl from Thailand, and a 13-year-old girl from China. Over a thousand miles and a 10-year age difference separated them. But in the last year, both of their lives would change forever in the very same way. Each would leave the life they had known and the country of their birth to join an adoptive family in the United States. And though their caregivers had prepared each girl as much as possible, when the day actually arrived for them to leave — reality sank in. And with it came confusion, fear and sadness. Continue reading “Preparing For The Unexpected — And The Expected!”

The Greatest Gift a Sponsor Can Give

When Holt staff member Celeste Snodgrass had the chance to meet her sponsored child, it affirmed her belief that sponsors are the key to keeping children out of orphanages — and with their families.

Celeste slipped off her sandals and swung her legs out of the SUV and into the squishy, dark mud. Looking at her surroundings, she couldn’t believe she was here. Lush palm groves lined the rutty, narrow dirt road that led her to a small collection of thatched houses raised on wooden stilts. 

A child and family's home in Thailand
Celeste and local Holt staff wade through knee-deep water as they leave Panit’s home.

Continue reading “The Greatest Gift a Sponsor Can Give”

It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Kids’ Lives in Thailand

A photo essay about the impact Holt sponsors and donors have created in the lives of children and families living in one coastal community in Thailand. 

Thick, sticky mud swallows your shoes as you approach the shoreline, where about five wooden boats dock in southern Thailand. After school, the kids of this community toss their shoes aside and let the mud squish in between their toes as they run to climb up onto their fathers’ boats. Fishing is the livelihood and lifestyle of the people here. It has been for generations. Continue reading “It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Kids’ Lives in Thailand”

Older Child Adoption: An Expert Adopts

Holt’s director of clinical services — Celeste Snodgrass — shares about adopting her son Max from Thailand at 9 years old. While an adoption expert by profession, Celeste affirms that no older-child adoption goes perfectly smoothly. But it’s the perfect option for many families, and for children who have been waiting so long.

“Are you hungry?” Celeste asked her son, Max.

Continue reading “Older Child Adoption: An Expert Adopts”