MYTH: Only Girls Need Families

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This November for National Adoption Month, we are — one at a time — taking on some of the many myths that surround adoption. Today, we’ll tackle one that may especially surprise you. Here it is:

Only girls are in need of families. Myth!

Where does this belief come from? Years ago, there were thousands of baby girls abandoned in China as an unintended consequence of the country’s one-child policy. These girls were found on benches in train stations, and on the front steps of churches and orphanages. Most were brought to orphanages where they waited, in dire need of a family. Continue reading “MYTH: Only Girls Need Families”

On December 1, Raise Your Voice!

Facebook-ArtMark your calendar — Giving Tuesday is only five weeks away!

Intended to celebrate the season of giving by putting charities in the spotlight, Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to tell your friends and family about Holt International.

On December 1, we are raising money to support women and girls around the world — the population hit the hardest by poverty, discrimination and violence, but also the most likely to create sweeping social and economic change in their communities.

On Giving Tuesday, we hope to raise $100,000 to provide educational scholarships for girls and vocational training for women, empower struggling single mothers with the resources they need to care for their children, and fight injustice and abuse by providing services to women and children who’ve endured violence or exploitation. Donations will also support pre- and post-natal healthcare for women, free daycare projects — so working moms can have safe childcare — and other community-based education programs that teach boys and girls how to prevent sexual violence.

Wow. Talk about one day with a lasting impact.

We are counting down to December 1, and we hope you are, too.

Keep an eye on your email inbox and prepare to raise your voice on social media!

Today, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! We will share more about Giving Tuesday in the days ahead.

Growing Their Confidence

Through a community-based gardening program, Holt’s partner agency in Thailand provides vulnerable children and families an outlet for enhancing their self-esteem and providing for their community.

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Since 1998, Holt Sahathai Foundation, in an effort to strengthen families and help children thrive, has provided a community-based gardening program in the Tha Sala district of southern Thailand. The program provides learning and socialization opportunities for vulnerable children and their families in order to enhance self-esteem and help promote community camaraderie. “If a community is strong and healthy, then the children of that community have a much higher chance of healthy development both physically and mentally,” Thoa Bui, Holt’s senior executive for SE Asia programs, says. “This is what the community garden helps to address.” Continue reading “Growing Their Confidence”

Break with tradition, break the cycle of poverty

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Raj outside the door to her home in Pune, India.

They say history repeats itself.

In many countries where Holt has programs, cultural norms and tradition have a strong influence over how parents raise their children.

In more patriarchal societies, many parents choose to educate their sons — but keep their daughters home from classes. Or, largely due to poverty, they may feel forced to pull their children from school at a young age to begin working. If a woman was married young, she may be more likely to encourage her daughter to marry young, effectively ending her education.

Culture and tradition can both be beautiful, positive guiding forces. However, our on-the-ground staff around the world say they often have to challenge local norms when encouraging families to educate their children — both boys and girls.

One of these families is Raj’s.

Slum community in Pune, India where Raj lives.
Raj outside her home, in the community where she lives with about 30 other families.

Soft spoken, kind and funny, 13-year-old Raj attends school in Pune, India with the support of a Holt child sponsor. In this area, our programs target girls’ education specifically and only girls have sponsors, but because Raj has a sponsor, her two younger brothers also receive free tuition.

Raj’s mother is 35. She was married at 14, and had Raj’s older brother at 15. Continuing with tradition, Raj’s mother wants Raj to marry next year, when she turns 14. However, if Raj is married, she will likely leave school — also ending her brother’s sponsorship. So for now, Raj’s mother has delayed her daughter’s marriage — not because she wants to keep Raj in school, but because she wants to educate her sons.

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Raj with her mother outside their home.

This is good news for Raj, who dreams of being a doctor and every year that she can stay in school, she gets one step closer to her goal. Holt’s staff is also counseling Raj’s family about the importance of education, and this may help keep Raj in school, too.

People like you and I can also help keep Raj and children like her in school, just by providing the school supplies and uniforms they need.

Holt sponsors support Raj's education in India
Raj with several of her schoolmates, also supported by Holt sponsors.

For just $17, you can give a child without a sponsor the books, shoes, uniforms or stationary they need this year. For children whose parents might otherwise pull them out early, this simple gift can be just enough to keep them in school — since the cost of these supplies can be too expensive for an already-struggling family.
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Your gift could help break the cycle of poverty for the next generation, and ensure nothing stands in the way of a child reaching his or her dreams!

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Raj at an education-based summer camp, which she attended with Holt’s support.

What Makes Children 5x More Likely To Go To School?

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One of Mahananda’s students at the Montessori school where she now teaches.

Mahananda grew up the daughter of a single mother in the slums of Pune, India.

Where she comes from, education was never a guarantee. Public school is not free in India, and for families living in poverty, the choice between food and school fees has always been a no-brainer. Still today, India has one of the largest populations of out-of-school children in the world.

But beyond the poverty of her community, beyond her single-parent household and the barriers to basic education in her country, Mahananda faced another obstacle inherent to the life she was born into…

Mahananda was born a girl.

In India and many places around the world, girls are often kept home from school. If a family can only afford fees for one child, they often opt to send their son to school and their daughter to work.

But when Holt sponsors and supporters create opportunities for girls to go to school, the impact is far-reaching.

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Mahananda observes an activity at a summer camp for teens at the Montessori School where she teaches.

When girls are educated, they have the capacity to create unprecedented economic and social change in their communities. Girls who are educated are more likely to delay marriage until adulthood. They have fewer children. And the children they do have are healthier and stronger. An educated mother will have increased job opportunities and higher wages, giving her the resources to buy food and medicine for her children.

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Mahanada stands beside Usha, one of her fellow Montessori teachers. Usha also received educational sponsorship as a girl growing up in Pune.

Educated women are also five times more likely to send their own children to school – increasing literacy rates in their communities, and breaking the cycle of poverty.

Mahananda is one educated woman who is creating change in her community.

With the support of a Holt sponsor, Mahananda completed her education and went on to become a Montessori schoolteacher. Today, she works for our partner in the region — educating another generation of sponsored boys and girls from the same slum community where she grew up.

As back-to-school season approaches, will you consider giving a gift of $17 to help send a girl to school? By equipping a girl with everything she needs — from books and supplies to a uniform and fees — you can help one more girl to conquer the gender barrier and create a better life for herself, her family and her community.

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Thank you for your back-to-school prayers!

As sponsored children prepare to return to school this fall, we sent Holt sponsors some snail mail, asking them to join with us in prayer for their sponsored child’s health, safety and education.

Already, thousands of prayer promise cards are pouring into our headquarters office in Oregon and filling our lobby with uplifting and loving messages for children!

We are so encouraged by sponsor’s prayer promises for the child or children they sponsor! Sponsor’s commitment to help every orphaned and vulnerable child receive the educational opportunities they deserve is inspirational.

Check out this video, recapping just a few of the prayers we’ve received …

Sponsorship-Back to School Prayer cards from Holt International on Vimeo.

Haven’t sent your prayer promise, yet? You can do it now, online — even if you’re not a child sponsor … yet!

And consider giving a gift of $17, which provides school supplies, books, shoes, uniforms and any school-related materials a vulnerable child may need this year.

We’ve said it once, and we will say it again — you are a super hero for children in need!

Thank you for partnering with us to create a brighter world for the most vulnerable children.

A Safe Place to Sit and Read

Holt expands our family strengthening work in Mongolia by funding an after-school program and library in an impoverished district of the country’s capital.

In the Songin Khairhan district of Mongolia, one of the poorest in the country’s capital of Ulaanbaatar, sits a social services building, an office where families come to receive support and services for themselves and their children. Since 2010, Holt International and its partners in Mongolia have provided relief for these families — many of whom have traveled from Mongolia’s countryside to find work — in the form of support that enables them to obtain nutritious food, medical services and educational materials.

In the coming months, Holt hopes to transform one of the rooms of this humble social services building into a fully functioning library and after-school program. “The children in this area love to read and need a safe place to go when they aren’t in school,” Paul Kim, Holt’s director of programs for Korea and Mongolia, says.

Fifteen years ago, in 1999, Holt began to serve homeless children in Ulaanbaatar through a partnership with the Mongolian NGO the Naidvar Center. Continue reading “A Safe Place to Sit and Read”

Growth and Transformation

The children of migrant families are some of the most vulnerable in India, and they are often excluded from schools and at risk of exploitation, trafficking and abuse. Recognizing the needs of this growing population, Holt’s partner in the region completely refocuses their efforts, using education as a transformative tool.

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26-year-old mother of three, Avni stands outside her temporary home in Bangalore, India. Six years ago, Avni and her husband migrated 350 miles from their rural village to this major metropolis of more than 8 million people in search of work.They were hired to build a six story apartment building, and while they build, they also live on their job site with their two sons.

Avni pulls her husband and son’s stiff, sun-dried pants and shirts off the frame of wooden scaffolding built outside her home. She climbs the seven unfinished concrete stairs, and drifts through the wide, cement hole where a double door and massive picture windows will someday lead into the lobby of a six-story apartment building. But, at that point, her family won’t live here anymore. It will be time for them to move on in search of another job, and another home.

Avni is 26 years old, and the mother of three children — an 11-year-old daughter and two sons, Basha, 9, and Mapasha, 6. She is strikingly beautiful, and has a kind, shy smile that peeks through the whole time she speaks, the little ring in her nose glistening. Her feet are bare under her purple sari, except for a thin, gold toe ring, which married women commonly wear in India as a token of luck in marriage.

Avni and her family migrated from their rural village to Bangalore, India six years ago for work, hopeful that they could find better jobs and make a better life for themselves and their children.

They weren’t the only ones. Continue reading “Growth and Transformation”

An Exciting Opportunity to Advocate for Children with HIV in China

We are now recruiting families for Holt’s first ever ambassador trip to China!

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The Children’s Home in Nanning cares for 30 boys and girls, ages 2-17. As the children may face discrimination if identified, we cannot share their photos.

The Children’s Home in Nanning provides care for children who were born with HIV, whose parents have passed away, and who face discrimination in their cities, towns and villages because of their status. Extended family are afraid to care for them, landlords won’t rent to them, and public schools don’t want them in their classrooms. The Children’s Home, with financial and advisory support from Holt and various other charities like www.stdaware.com, provides these children with a home where they can receive an education, medical care and affection from caregivers who do not fear them because of their HIV status. For a firsthand account of a Holt staff member’s visit to this special facility, please see Samantha Gammon’s blog post. Continue reading “An Exciting Opportunity to Advocate for Children with HIV in China”

Because Success in School = Success in Life

Education-BannerSchool is out for the summer! But not for long.

Soon, American families will start thinking about sending their little ones back — pouring into retail stores to buy clothes, shoes, supplies and backpacks for a promising new year.

But for many children around the world, school is often out of reach.

Many obstacles, including the lack of basic school supplies, stand in their way of receiving an education and reaching their God-given potential. Without a proper uniform, many children aren’t even allowed inside the classroom.

That’s why today, I am asking you to give a gift of $17 to provide a uniform, textbooks and shoes so that a child in need can succeed in school.

And when you make your gift, please join me in making a promise to pray every day for the orphaned and vulnerable children we serve — pray for their safety, quick learning and a strong sense of purpose.

Your gift today will ensure a child is equipped to succeed in school. Because as we all know, success in school so often means success in life … And through your Prayer Promise, our prayers will unite to bless children around the world as they work to achieve their dreams!

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