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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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”
In rural Uganda, sponsors are now helping children attend secondary school — the critical second half of their education that empowers them to rise above poverty, and to dream big.
Before, Edith might have gotten married. When she graduated primary school last year at age 13 — her education finished — she might have started to run her own household, possibly becoming a mother as a young teenager.
And Raymond? He might have moved to Kampala. As a 12-year-old in Uganda’s largest city, he might have found a manual labor job or started working for a wealthy family — anything to earn a living.
There’s no way to know exactly where Edith and Raymond would have ended up. But of one thing we can be certain — they would not still be in school. Thrown into adult life, without a full education, the cycle of poverty would have continued for them and their families.
Sophia lives in a small rural village in Uganda. Because of her sponsor, Sophia has everything she needs to go to school and thrive in the care of her grandmother. Watch as Sophia shares about a typical day in her life, and the message she has for her Holt sponsor in the U.S.!
On the cover of this year’s Gifts of Hope catalog, 10-year-old Gloria holds a goat her single mother received to help her build the strength and self-reliance she needs to independently support her four daughters. Gloria and her family live in rural Uganda, where graduation rates for boys still exceed that of girls, where girls often marry by age 16 and where women often become the sole source of support for their children. But through Gifts of Hope and child sponsorship, Holt supporters are helping to empower women and girls in this community — making, as some have said, the best investment in the world.
That is a ridiculous question.
This is what Gorret’s face conveys in response to the question just asked of her by the guests in her home — a team of visitors from Holt International, the organization that sponsors her two eldest daughters.
Gorret is a 28-year-old mother of four girls. Angella and Gloria are tall and slender 10-year-olds with thoughtful brown eyes. They are identical twins. Her youngest daughter is a playful 4-year-old who peeks, giggling, from behind a curtain as we talk. Her middle daughter is 7. They are a house full of women, and a house headed by a woman. Four year ago, the girls’ father abandoned his family in a rented room in Kampala — leaving his wife alone to care for her four young children, including a newborn daughter. With no source of income to pay her rent, and no way to support her children, Gorret packed up their few belongings and moved her girls back to her childhood home in the rural Ugandan village of Dwambe.
Ten years ago, long-time Holt partner Jolly Nyeko donated her land to build a school for the children of Masulita, Uganda. Most of the children had never before seen the inside of a classroom. Today, nearly 300 children attend Jolly Children’s Academy with the support of Holt sponsors.
Jolly Nyeko has started many things in her life. The first helpline to report child abuse in Uganda. One of the first organizations to help children and families recover from brutal conflict in northern Uganda. A PhD in early childhood development, which she also later finished.
But one thing Jolly Nyeko never meant to start was a school.
“Starting a school was not my idea,” says the founder and director of Holt’s long-time partner in Uganda, Action for Children (AFC), as she stands on the grounds of Jolly Children’s Academy — a primary school at the center of a village called Masulita, located about 20 miles outside of Kampala.
Today is an exciting day at Jolly Children’s Academy, where Holt sponsors have teamed up with local staff to throw a party in celebration of International Children’s Day. Earlier, the 150 children in sponsorship at Jolly Academy gathered in the grassy field between their classrooms to perform songs and dances, open gifts from their sponsors and eat a three-tiered cake with white and purple frosting. They now sit and giggle in groups, drinking soda pop and relaxing on the grounds of the school — a school that was once, but is no longer, Jolly’s farm. Continue reading “They Are Welcome Here”