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”

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”