In India, and in developing countries around the world, the COVID-19 crisis has significantly increased the risk of child marriage. But one key factor continues to make a dramatic difference in the lives of vulnerable girls and young women: child sponsorship.
Rani* was just 17. She did not want to get married. She argued and pleaded with her mom. She asked her social worker to convince her mom to delay her marriage. Rani knew her mom was struggling to support her and her two little sisters. If she got married, it would ease the burden on her family.
“My mom has always been under stress due to conservative traditions at home,” Kiran says of her mom, who cries today when she thinks of all that Kiran has achieved. “She could not take education or choose her partner on her own, and had to live life on other’s terms and conditions.” Continue reading “The Life She Dreamed Of”
The story of the Red Stone School in Mongolia — a sponsor-supported school for children who live and work in a garbage dump. A longer version of this story appeared in Holt’s fall 2017 sponsorship magazine.
You smell, says the teacher. You can’t wear dirty clothes to school. You can’t learn anything. You don’t belong here.
You belong to the garbage.
On the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, high above the city at the crest of a hill, a land of discarded waste sprawls over miles and miles, shrouded by a heavy cloud of toxic dust. This wasteland, this dumping ground for a million people’s garbage, is a living place, teeming with animals and people who pick through the refuse to gather whatever they can find to survive. A rotten loaf of bread. A bone with some meat on it. Plastic or glass or metal that can be recycled for money.
To get first pick at the discarded food in the trucks that arrive at dawn, some people sleep here, using cardboard and old tires to block the icy night wind. To stay warm, they burn tires and trash, breathing noxious smoke into their lungs. In winter, when they climb up on the trucks, some of them slip and fall to their deaths. In summer, when it is hot and damp, some of them get life-threatening infections. Continue reading “A School for Kids in the Garbage Dump”
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.
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.”
Through a sponsor- and donor-supported program in Cali, Colombia, children attend free daycare while their mothers attend parenting classes, learn life skills and receive job training — helping them grow strong, stable and empowered to better support their children.
"I hope you continue to help people like us, kids that need it very much, and thank you so much for offering us this wonderful support.” — Kelly
“To see my daughter, how she started and how she is doing now, she has learned so many things." — Diana
"Before, I didn’t really trust myself. I felt that I was not capable of anything. But through the program, I gained confidence. And my daughter has changed a lot. Everything they teach her, she learns. Everything." — Lina
"They’re worrying about their children and want the best for them. They know the importance of their children having an education, that they receive love, and that they are affectionate with them. It’s not just giving them food. It’s more than that.” — Ana González, staff psychologist
Cali is a lush and vibrant city home to over 2 million people in southwest Colombia. But like many developing countries, Colombia — and Cali — has two sides. In one neighborhood where sponsors support children, wealthy landowners live side by side with an unlicensed, makeshift community that sprung up during the war to accommodate rural, indigenous families displaced by the violence. Continue reading “Photo Gallery: Sponsored Families in Colombia”
Thank you for providing warm winter coats for children in China!
China’s cold winters can feel even colder for children living in poverty. Many families don’t have heaters to warm their homes. And few can afford anything but cheap cotton coats for their kids to wear all season.
But this winter, children in Holt’s educational sponsorship program in China will stay warm and cozy, bundled up in heavy down coats you generously gave them for Christmas!
Vietnamese adoptee Clare Larson reflects on her life, her family and her hopes and dreams for the child she sponsors in Vietnam. A longer version of this story originally appeared in Holt’s fall 2017 sponsorship magazine.
In January 2017, Holt’s sponsorship team received an unusual email from a woman named Clare Larson.
“In 1993,” it read, “I was fortunate enough to be adopted from Vietnam at 9 years old and went through the Holt adoption agency. At 33 years old with a career in management consulting and a student at Cornell’s Johnson MBA program, I am finally able to give back. I would like to sponsor a child from Vietnam.”