After her father died, Hyeon Ji relied on Holt child sponsors to help her finish school. Now, she has a message — and an update — to share with them.
After Hyeon Ji’s parents divorced, her mom left — and never tried to reconnect with her.
But her dad was loving and kind and devoted to his daughter. He struggled to find work, but when he had the money he would take his daughter out for sushi dinners. When Hyeon Ji was in her early teens, he began working nights as a taxi driver — leaving Hyeon Ji home alone. She always felt safe, though — knowing he would eventually come home.
In one coastal community in southern Haiti, many parents struggled to feed their children and send them to school before sponsors began supporting them three years ago.
Jayson and his family live in a small fishing village off the southern coast of Haiti. His dad works as a fisherman, and every day, he nets his catch in the sparkling, azure blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. What he catches, he sells.
But he almost never brings home any fish for his family.
Instead, they eat spaghetti. Or corn. Or rice imported from the U.S. Some days, they eat almost nothing.
Growing up without a stable family in the Philippines, Konny Dela Cruz struggled to stay on track — and eventually left school early to work in a garment factory. Then she learned about Holt’s independent living and educational assistance (ILEA) program — a donor-funded program that helps institutionalized and disadvantaged teens to attend college and learn independent living skills.
The story of my life is so beautiful with a lot of learnings.
I was born in 1997. I grew up with a family with whom I have no blood relationship. I was only 2 years old when my mother entrusted me to the care of the landlady of the boarding house where we used to stay because she went to Korea to work.
When I was growing up, I was wondering why there is no name of my father on my birth certificate. I asked the landlady, whom I have been calling grandmother “Lola,” to explain “why I have no father on my birth certificate,” but she would just tell me it is only your mother who can answer your question. And my mother kept ignoring my question, too.
We were given permission to share this story by the people involved, but due to its sensitive nature we have changed their names.
As Holt’s senior writer for the past eight years, I’ve met a lot of kids. I’ve heard — and retold — a lot of stories. And I’ve seen some pretty heartbreaking things. I feel it, every time. The hurt, the sadness in the eyes of these children.
In rural Uganda, sponsors are now helping children attend secondary school — the critical second half of their education that empowers them to rise above poverty, and to dream big.
Before, Edith might have gotten married. When she graduated primary school last year at age 13 — her education finished — she might have started to run her own household, possibly becoming a mother as a young teenager.
And Raymond? He might have moved to Kampala. As a 12-year-old in Uganda’s largest city, he might have found a manual labor job or started working for a wealthy family — anything to earn a living.
There’s no way to know exactly where Edith and Raymond would have ended up. But of one thing we can be certain — they would not still be in school. Thrown into adult life, without a full education, the cycle of poverty would have continued for them and their families.
In Bengaluru, India, Holt child sponsors help over 1,000 girls go to school and receive an education — girls like Payal, Sanjana, Manixa and Mayvis. The importance of education for girls is not lost on them. When you educate a girl in India, you help prevent child marriage, and empower her for a successful future. And these girls want to know – why do you sponsor them?
“Why do they want to let the children to study?” says Payal, her dark brown eyes perplexed.
Because of sponsors like you, Claudette’s children are learning math, science, reading and writing. They study music and eat a hot lunch every single day. But without you, none of this would be possible. Whether your sponsored child lives in Haiti, or somewhere else, thank YOU for all you do — each and every day!