Season of Love, Gifts of Hope: Chickens and Pigs Keep Children Healthy, Families Together in Vietnam

Sometimes, all a family needs is a little help.

Many of the children who enter Holt’s care have living parents or relatives whose lack of resources, not lack of love, compelled them to seek outside care for their child. Rather, relinquishing a child is an act of love. What parent wouldn’t rather separate from their child than watch their child grow sick and malnourished?

At Holt, we believe poverty – or disease or discrimination – should not prevent children from growing up with otherwise loving birth parents. That is why, everywhere we work, we strive to keep at-risk families safe, stable and together.

To that end, we provide basic nutrition and medical care for physical health, and counseling for psychological wellbeing. We assist with education, sending children to school and training parents in income-generating trades. And through microloans for small businesses, we help families achieve both self-reliance – and lasting stability.

One small business is particularly adaptable to many of the regions we serve: raising livestock. After Holt provides the resources and know-how, families can quickly take the reins.

Here are three short family stories from Vietnam, a country where – with international adoption suspended – family preservation efforts have become a major focus, and livestock a major source of support. All three of these children are supported by Holt’s sponsorship program as well:

 A few little chicks can make a big impact…

When Cara’s* mother died in November of 2009, she and her three siblings went to live with her grandmother and aunt. For income, the family harvested rice and raised a few chickens. This barely provided enough to meet their basic needs, however, let alone pay the fees for the children to attend school. Cara and her siblings were at risk of dropping out of school when the local district referred the family to Holt-Vietnam.

To ensure that Cara and her siblings could stay in school – and with their family – Holt provided funding to support the family’s chicken-raising efforts. Holt social workers regularly visit Cara’s family to check on their health and wellbeing, and to advise her grandmother and aunt on how to manage their small business.

Today, Cara and her family are doing well. Now 4, Cara attends kindergarten and is developmentally on track. “She walks, runs and jumps without any problem,” a Holt social worker wrote in a recent sponsorship report. “She is learning colors and counting from 1 to 100.” Continue reading “Season of Love, Gifts of Hope: Chickens and Pigs Keep Children Healthy, Families Together in Vietnam”

From Oregon to India to Vietnam

coordinated efforts to serve children and families span around the globe

In the spring issue of Holt magazine, Minalee Saks, executive director of Birth to Three, described a workshop she led last February – in India. Birth to Three is a non-profit organization in Eugene, Oregon that provides parenting education and support for families of young children. Organized by Holt, the workshop drew 19 social workers from six countries for a four-day training in Birth to Three’s “Make Parenting a Pleasure” curriculum.

At the end of the workshop, the participants returned home to put Minalee’s practices to work – making the act of parenting both more enjoyable, and more effective, for families from Ethiopia and Uganda to the Philippines and Vietnam.

In Vietnam, the two social workers that participated are making quick progress.

With the lessons still fresh in her mind, Holt social worker Nguyen Thu Ngan led a one-day training session for fellow social workers and staff in Vietnam. In turn, the Holt-Vietnam staff will soon begin training families we serve throughout the country – beginning with 50 struggling families we support in the north, near Hanoi. The children of these families are all in preschool, and all at risk of neglect or separation from their parents. Through basic support services, we are helping these families give their children a safe, stable home. And now, thanks to Minalee Saks and Birth to Three, we can help them become better parents for their children as well.

Read about Minalee’s time in India….

Say Yes to Making a Difference in the Life of a Child!

You Are Invited to Holt’s Annual Gala and Dinner Auction in Portland, Oregon

Holt’s dinner and auction event in Portland, Oregon is coming up on October 16th.  The event will benefit homeless and at-risk children in Vietnam and will be held at Montgomery Park at 5:30 p.m.

There are more than a thousand children and families in Holt’s Vietnam program.  Our services in Vietnam help keep birth families together, reunite children with their birth families, and support children in foster care.  Our work in Vietnam also provides services to single mothers, nutrition programs, medical services and adoption.

Click the image to RSVP today!

“The word “yes” is a powerful word. My husband Jay and I said “yes” when we were asked to volunteer in 1996 for the Holt Portland auction,” says Char Woodworth, event chair for this year’s auction. “Working on the auction, working closely with wonderful, dedicated friends and Holt staff, and then seeing the event come together as a wonderful party to help children, what a gift! Working for Holt gives our lives purpose, meaning and fulfillment. You will have a wonderful time at the Portland event – remember to say “yes’ to making a difference in the life of a child!”

Come, join the fun at this year’s dinner and auction in Portland….and help children in Holt’s care in Vietnam.  Click here for more information and to RSVP to the event.

To volunteer on a committee, donate auction items, host a table, or be a Gala sponsor, please contact events@holtinternational.org

Can’t attend the event?…..make a difference by sponsoring a child in Vietnam.

The Power of the Human Spirit

by Jennifer Goette, Holt Director of Programs, South and Southeast Asia

During my first trip to Vietnam in my new role as the Program Director for South and Southeast Asia, there were many moments that led me to confront the power of the human spirit. Visiting orphanages supported by Holt, I was impressed by the loving care and genuine affection provided to each child. I was also touched by the need that emanated from each child, young and old, to be loved and cared for. Some of the children would find loving, permanent families through domestic or inter-country adoption; my heart went out to the other children – often older children and children with special needs—who would probably wait for years hoping to find a family of their own.

I was profoundly moved by a quiet young man with a determined spirit who has been living in care for most of his childhood. Tuan Ahn has a quick smile and is shy about his accomplishments. Orphaned at the age of eight years old when both of his parents passed away from infections believed to be caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuan was sent to live with his grandparents. After only two years, his grandparents were too old to care for the young boy and placed him with an orphanage supported by Holt International outside of Ho Chi Minh City. There he has received care and positive encouragement for more than nine years. Continue reading “The Power of the Human Spirit”