For generations of children with special needs in Vietnam, school has been something only other children get to do. But now, in one rural community, over one hundred sponsored children are shattering stereotypes, exceeding expectations — and loving every minute of it.
At the end of 2020, Liya, Cam, Purev and Guneet represented the greatest needs children were facing after a difficult year. One month after Holt donors generously stepped up to help, see how these children are doing now!
In the last months of 2020, we shared about some of the greatest, most urgent needs children around the world were facing as part of our President’s Top Priority Campaign for Children 2020. After such a difficult year, from stay at home orders to lost income to schools closing, children were truly in crisis.
The top needs Holt staff around the world identified were: malnutrition in Ethiopia, overcrowded orphanages, children living and working in the garbage dump in Mongolia, and children and families who were homeless or on the brink of homelessness. Each need came to life through a child and his or her story. These children were Liya in Ethiopia, Cam in Vietnam, Purev in Mongolia and Guneet in India.
While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be long-lasting, Holt donors responded generously, providing help to these children who needed it the very most. It’s only been a month since the President’s Top Priority Campaign for Children 2020 concluded, but already children are starting to get the help they need.
Here are the latest updates we’ve received about Liya, Cam, Purev and Guneet since they began receiving help!
Can we all agree that children belong in families who are safe and able to meet their needs? This is why we have foster care. What happens, though, when the system intended to protect children has weaknesses of its own? What if the state removes a child from their parents, turns to find a fostering family, and finds none? Continue reading “Children Belong in Homes, Not Hotel Rooms”
An interview with Zerihun Gultie, country director of Holt Ethiopia, about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children and families in Ethiopia — and how sponsors and donors are meeting their most urgent needs.
How is the pandemic affecting children and families in Ethiopia?
COVID-19 has been affecting all of us. … March-May was terrifying because we knew that the infrastructure in this country isn’t able to cope with a pandemic like this …Travel was banned to the field. Public gatherings were also restricted. Schools were closed. And the economy was partially shut down. So this has been affecting the socioeconomic livelihood of communities, especially in the places where we work. … People who used to get food from the market were not able to get food. It has affected everyone, especially the poor and those who are living in the rural settings. Continue reading “COVID-19 in Ethiopia: How the Pandemic is Affecting Children in Sponsorship”
In her early teens, Devi thought she’d never be able to attend school. But then, Holt sponsors began supporting her family — lifting them out of the darkness.
“Can I say something?” Devi asks, shyly. Devi has a thin face and large, deep eyes, just like her mom. She looks less tired than her mom — although her eyes hold more suffering than most teenage girls.
“Of course,” we tell her. She had been mostly quiet during our time talking with the family, so what she says next surprises us all.
Immediately, tears cascade down her cheeks.
“I’m not speaking in English nicely, but [I want to] so thank you. It is God’s grace and mercy that you help us. I want to say, God is helping me through you. God is working, and you are His engine for good,” she says, becoming more choked up and passionate as she goes. “My mom is working and I’m working, but really, you are helping in my education and studies and all things. I am very thankful for you. Nobody sees me, but you do. You help give us medicine, milk and food. All my family was in darkness, but now there is light.”
A caregiver in full PPE holds a baby at an orphanage in Wuhan, China, one of many where you helped deliver emergency medical and cleaning supplies to protect children in care when the novel coronavirus first broke out at the beginning of 2020.
Hannah (front) and her siblings went four days without food before you helped make it possible to deliver emergency food baskets to over 1,800 families unable to work or purchase food during India's nationwide lockdown in March 2020.
Four-year-old Gracie was weeks away from traveling to her adoptive family in the U.S. when COVID-19 hit Haiti. With a heart condition and suppressed immune system, she urgently needed to be on the last known flight leaving Haiti. With your support, Gracie made it safely to the U.S. to join her family in early April 2020.
Early in the pandemic, you provided 250 families in Thailand with care packages full of rice, cooking oil, fish oil, instant noodles, canned foods, baby formula, detergent, soap, toothpaste, disinfectant, cloth masks and more.
Before the pandemic, Ms. Yan sold beverages at a local school to support her children. But when schools abruptly closed in Cambodia, she lost her source of income. Immediately, you helped provide emergency food as well as remote social work support to help her develop an alternate business plan to provide for her kids.
For the children at this orphanage in Vietnam, you helped provide hand sanitizers, soap, thermometers, face masks and vitamin supplements to build up children’s immune systems. You also helped our orphanage partners pay overtime wages to staff and caregivers, who had to work longer hours to care for children and keep them safe.
During normal times, Miremba (right) and her cousin attend a Holt-supported early childhood education center in Uganda. But learning at home without electricity was difficult during the pandemic — until you helped provide solar lamps for all the kids in the program!
A doctor checks the temperature of a baby at the Mother and Child Health Center in Shinshicho, Ethiopia, where you not only provided masks and sanitizers directly to children and families, but also provided critically needed PPE to this hospital — protecting both medical staff and the women and children who receive care here.
South Korea was among the first countries hit by COVID-19 before it became a global pandemic. When it hit, you helped mobilize an emergency shipment of masks and sanitizers for children in orphanages and foster homes — keeping them healthy and safe.
In Colombia, you helped our partner orphanage hire additional caregivers as well as purchase masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, biohazard bags and disposable gowns for caregivers to protect the children from the virus. “Our efforts could not be possible without the generosity of our donors, families and friends… GOD BLESS YOU,” they wrote in a thank you message.
In Mongolia, the three domestic violence shelters you help support have seen significant, double-digit increases in reports of abuse since the beginning of the pandemic. For women and children fleeing violence, you provide everything from a warm, safe bed and nourishing food to counseling and life skills training. Since the pandemic, you have also helped provide additional infant formula, vitamins, medical equipment and other essentials.
For kids who attend the Holt-supported Red Stone School near the garbage dump in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the free lunch they eat at school is often the only one they eat all day. When schools closed, you helped deliver emergency food to these children and their families — as well as masks and sanitizers to help keep them safe from COVID.
And in the U.S., you made it possible for Holt’s foster care and adoption team to virtually “babysit” for fostering families, help children celebrate their birthdays, launch an online family support group, and train new foster families in anticipation of an influx of children.