I Won’t Give Up On Her

In the summer of 2016, Holt sponsor and then Holt employee Billie Loewen met a very sad, hungry girl in a remote village in Cambodia. She immediately signed up to sponsor her. Four years later, she receives an update that makes her heart soar.

In the first week of every month, I pull open the Excel spreadsheet with four years of monthly budgets. I open the Chase app and Wells Fargo and drift quickly over the charges, looking for anything amiss. The single line with a shortened title, “HOLT INTL CHILD,” and associated charge — $38 — always catches my eye.

Most months, paying bills is the only time I think about what it costs to sponsor the beautiful, shy, heartbreakingly sad little girl I met in a village in Cambodia on a scorching hot, dusty day in 2016.

Tiny, impossibly thin with straggly hair turning yellow from lack of nutrition, and a broad face with deep, serious eyes, 10-year-old Phal captured my entire heart the moment I saw her.

It’s been four years since I met her, and I think about her a lot.

Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.
Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.

Continue reading “I Won’t Give Up On Her”

10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019

You did some truly amazing things in the lives of children and families this past year.

As Holt sponsors, donors, volunteers and advocates, you gave your time, money and energy to make sure as many children as possible could grow up with the love, stability and opportunity they deserve. And because of you — because of your kindness and generosity — 283,212 children and families in 14 countries around the world received the life-changing care and services they needed in 2019!

Seriously, you’re amazing. And we’re so incredibly thankful for you.

Just to give you a glimpse, here are 10 specific ways that your heartfelt giving changed the lives of children and families in Holt programs last year:

You helped kids. LOTs of kids!

Continue reading “10 Ways Holt Donors Changed Kids’ Lives in 2019”

Because They Are Brave

For generations, women and girls in Cambodia were taught not to speak their minds or stand up for their rights. But step by step, and with the support of sponsors and donors, they are learning to stand up, speak up and go after their dreams.

Sela sits in the Holt Cambodia office in Phnom Penh.
Sela sits in the Holt Cambodia office in Phnom Penh.

Sela’s voice quivers a bit as she speaks. She is slight and girlish, in jeans and a V-neck shirt, her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail and long bangs swept across her forehead. A large, black, practical watch overwhelms her slender wrist. Continue reading “Because They Are Brave”

5 Ways School Supplies Change Kids’ Lives

In developing countries around the world, going to school means much more than learning.

At the Yesus Mena Deaf School in Shinshicho, Ethiopia, Holt donors provide the books and supplies that children need to learn.  Many of these kids had no way to communicate before this sign language-based school opened in their community!

But before children can go to school, they need — and are often required to have — specific school supplies. The cost of supplies and uniforms are often too high for families living in poverty — causing children to drop out early. Below, we list five ways that your gift of school supplies can change kids’ lives.

Continue reading “5 Ways School Supplies Change Kids’ Lives”

A Dream To Save

Before a sponsor starting supporting her, Mekdes wasn’t sure if she could even stay in school in her rural community of Ethiopia  — much less follow her dream of becoming a doctor.

Eighteen-year-old Mekdes dreams of becoming a doctor one day.  Today, she is close to realizing her dream. Ten years ago, however, Mekdes’ future seemed uncertain.

Though bright and driven, Mekdes faced overwhelming challenges, and her family’s economic status seemed to dictate another path entirely — a path not nearly as bright, and certainty not one that would lead to a medical profession, or even an education.

Before sponsors and donors began supporting them, Mekdes and her family struggled to overcome their dire circumstances. But, today, they have hope.
Before sponsors and donors began supporting them, Mekdes and her family struggled to overcome their dire circumstances. But, today, they have hope.

Continue reading “A Dream To Save”

Bringing Education To Their World

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. 

Cambodia

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”

Keeping His Promise

Two years ago, Holt donors gave Lhagvajav a brand new “ger” — a traditional Mongolian home — in which to raise his six children. He promised that he would work hard, and help his children succeed. He has lived up to his promise.  

Two years ago, we visited Lhagvajav and his family at their home on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. It was the last day of a week-long trip with a group of Holt donors who had traveled to see the work — and meet the children and families — they support through their generous giving. Before traveling, the donors also provided the funds to build new gers, or traditional Mongolian homes, for four families in greatest need.

Lhagvajav’s family was one of the four families that received a new ger. Continue reading “Keeping His Promise”

Every Day of Her Life

Vuong used to sit on her porch every day — watching other kids go to school. Then a donor made it possible for her to attend Kianh Foundation, a school for children with special needs in Vietnam.

Vuong sits among her classmates at the Kianh Foundation Center.
Vuong sits among her classmates at the Kianh Foundation Center.

“I can’t do it!”

Parents often hear this phrase from their frustrated, exhausted children who are convinced they’ve been defeated by whatever challenge they are facing.  Sounding out their first word.  Catching a baseball.  Trying to figure out a math problem.  The obstacles children face are endless, and sometimes the confidence they have in their perceived inability overpowers their resolve.  They know they can’t do it.  But their parents — their cheerleaders — know better. Continue reading “Every Day of Her Life”

2018 Urgent Need Update: You Changed Their Lives

At the end of 2018, we shared with you about three children in our programs who were experiencing the most heartbreaking, hopeless and urgent needs: Linh, a 13-year-old who became pregnant after a violent assault; Shenaz, a little girl in India who was grieving her father’s death and living in extreme poverty; and Jun Jun, a boy in China who desperately needed a surgery for his cleft lip.

Your outpouring of support and care for these three little ones amazed us. You gave generously. And because of you, Linh, Shenaz and Jun Jun’s lives have changed.

Keep reading to see just how powerful a difference you made in these children’s lives!

Linh.Linh | A Mother at 13, She Needed Help

Continue reading “2018 Urgent Need Update: You Changed Their Lives”

It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Lives in Ethiopia

Shinshicho — a district capital in southern Ethiopia.

Ten years ago, Holt sponsors began supporting children and families in the impoverished community of Shinshicho — a district capital in southern Ethiopia where goats and cattle still roam the unpaved roads that lead through town, few homes or businesses have electricity or running water, and donkeys are the primary mode of transportation.

Here, as throughout Ethiopia, years of civil war and drought have robbed many families of their livelihoods, while famine and illness have robbed many children of their parents. Most families in rural Ethiopia subsist on what they can grow on small plots of land, which is often just barely enough to feed their families. But in 2008, when Holt began working alongside local leaders and community elders, life began to change for many children and families in Shinshicho. Continue reading “It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Lives in Ethiopia”