How You Lit Up the Dark for Kids in Uganda

By providing solar lamps, sponsors and donors are helping children in Uganda learn at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has created so many challenges for the children and families sponsors and donors support through Holt International. With schools closed and families isolating at home, one of the greatest challenges parents face is how to keep their kids learning outside the traditional classroom setting.

From country to country, the needs are a little different. In many places, access to remote learning devices like phones and tablets is a major obstacle. In some countries, lessons are broadcast via television — making it difficult for families who don’t own a TV. But in the rural farming communities where sponsored children live in Uganda, it’s not a lack of devices that keeps kids from learning— but a lack of electricity. Children are struggling to complete their schoolwork in the dark! Continue reading “How You Lit Up the Dark for Kids in Uganda”

COVID-19 in Vietnam: How the Pandemic is Affecting Sponsored Kids

An interview with Hang Dam, country director for Holt Vietnam, about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children and families in Vietnam — and how sponsors and donors are meeting their most urgent needs. 

Thanks to Holt sponsors and donors, this family received emergency food and support during the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam.
Thanks to Holt sponsors and donors, this family received emergency food and support  after they lost their source of income during the pandemic.

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting children and families in Holt’s Vietnam programs?

We in Vietnam feel so blessed to be safe up to this point in time. All of our children are safe. None of them are diagnosed with the illness. But the pandemic has caused so many difficulties for the parents because so many have lost jobs. Even with the social distancing period over in Vietnam, many families still face difficulties finding a job due to the number of companies that had to close down or ran out of business. Families have fallen into financial crisis and are struggling with daily living and needing basic necessities for their children. Continue reading “COVID-19 in Vietnam: How the Pandemic is Affecting Sponsored Kids”

You Made Their School Warm for the Winter!

In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Holt donors help provide a special school for children living in or near the city garbage dump. Before this school opened, these children spent their days digging through the trash in search of food and recyclables.

The Red Stone school in Mongolia needed repairs in order to keep children warm as they learned!

This school is the only place many of these children can take a hot shower or get warm . This is especially important in the winter when temperatures in Mongolia can drop to an icy 40 degrees below zero.

But recently, the school was in serious need of renovation. Four doors needed to be replaced and the walls were drafty and needed additional insulation to keep children warm and dry during Mongolia’s extreme winter weather.

Continue reading “You Made Their School Warm for the Winter!”

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”

How One Extraordinary Boy in the Philippines Found a Holt Sponsor

Danilos stands on a street near his home in the Philippines.

We just have to tell you about Danilo.

Danilo is 9. He lives with his family in the Philippines and he’s in the fifth grade at school. Two years ago, Danilo heard about Holt’s child sponsorship program from a kid who lived next door to him. His neighbor told him that he has a sponsor in the U.S. who helps him go to school by providing school supplies, lunch money and uniforms.

Danilo couldn’t believe it!

His parents also had trouble covering the cost of his supplies, books, uniforms and school lunches. Some days, he even went without lunch. Continue reading “How One Extraordinary Boy in the Philippines Found a Holt Sponsor”

A Bottle of Hand Sanitizer, Hope for the School Year

Yargui almost couldn’t return to school because of the additional costs for a mask, hand sanitizer and other school-in-a-pandemic essentials. But thankfully, Holt donors didn’t let these additional costs stand in her way.

On September 1, Yargui and her classmates returned for in-person school in Ulaanbaatar. But she almost couldn’t go. All because of a bottle of hand sanitizer.

This year, children around the world need more supplies than ever in order to attend school. In addition to all the regular items like paper, pencils, uniforms and books, most children also have to provide their own mask and hand sanitizer. Such is the case in Mongolia, where the government requires that every student has their own bottle of sanitizer for school. Continue reading “A Bottle of Hand Sanitizer, Hope for the School Year”

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”

Her Best Example: Empowering Women and Children in Colombia

When Diana got pregnant at 17, she thought her dreams — and her dreams for her children — were over. Then she discovered Holt’s partner program in Colombia, empowering both women and children through education.

We visit Diana at her home on a warm weekday morning, and her neighborhood is quiet but for an occasional horseback rider clop-clopping along the long, straight dirt road out in front of her home. A small black dog lays in her doorway and a cat sleeps in her garden, which is lush but well-tended, with neat stone steps that descend from the road above down a story to her orange brick home. Diana and her husband built their home themselves, she says, “brick by brick.” Continue reading “Her Best Example: Empowering Women and Children in Colombia”

Keeping Kids Connected During COVID-19

In Delhi, children felt isolation, bored and disconnected from their Holt-supported community during their city-wide lockdown. But then, they started a vlog to connect with each other — and it’s been more meaningful than they ever expected.

“Hello Friends! I’m Deepa,” says a young girl, giving a slight wave to the camera. Deepa wears her black hair in two low French braids fastened with purple scrunchies, and has a thin black choker necklace around her neck.

A friendly greeting and introduction like this is how 11-year-old Deepa starts all of her videos on the KARE Kids vlog. In her first video, she shares about herself, her life and her family. In a later video, titled “Arts and Crafts with Deepa,” she shows how to make a pop-up greeting card. In the one before that she shares yoga tips, and in another she tells everyone which superpower she would choose to have and why.

In her latest video on the vlog. Deepa shares about which superpower she would want to have.

Deepa is one of 28 children who contribute to the KARE Kids Vlog Channel. Although, with its classroom-like feel, it’s really more like a community of friends than just a YouTube channel. Each of these children lives in Delhi, India and are part of the Kinship Care and Relational Engagement or “KARE” program through Shishu Sangopan Griha (SSG), Holt’s partner organization in the city.

Continue reading “Keeping Kids Connected During COVID-19”

The Children Left Behind

When a news story broke in China about children who died by suicide after their parents migrated without them, it became clear this was more than a crisis of poverty. It was a crisis of loneliness and loss.

When Luan's parents left, she was left in charge of her younger brother and her elderly grandparents.
When Luan’s parents left, she was left in charge of her younger brother and her elderly grandparents.

Luan doesn’t blame her parents for leaving. She loves them and forgives them for doing what they did. She even goes to visit her mom sometimes.

“I don’t know why she left me,” she says of her mom, “but I don’t blame her or hate her.”

Luan is among an estimated 60 million children in China who are growing up without their parents — left behind in rural villages in the care of elderly grandparents or relatives who struggle to provide for them on their own meager resources. In some cases, parents leave their children when they divorce, or when they remarry and their new spouse won’t accept children from a previous marriage. But most parents leave when they migrate to cities in search of work. They leave out of poverty, out of desperation. Continue reading “The Children Left Behind”