To the Warm-Hearted People

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. 

In early 2012, at 13 years old, Hyeon Ji began receiving support from sponsors to help her stay in school.

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.   

When her father got sick, Hyeon Ji took care of him as best she could. For a while, he got better. Then, he got worse. When he passed away, Hyeon Ji was just 15. Continue reading “To the Warm-Hearted People”

Holt Sponsors Send Kids to School, Provide Free Lunch in Haiti

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.

“Fish is expensive,” explains Gustave Richard, a Holt social worker who works closely with families in sponsorship. “If they have it, they’d rather sell it.” Continue reading “Holt Sponsors Send Kids to School, Provide Free Lunch in Haiti”

The Story of My Life

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. 

Konny Dela Cruz in her graduation gown.

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.

I could not approach any relative because I don’t know anyone — and maybe nobody knows about me, too. Continue reading “The Story of My Life”

This Is Linh’s Story

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.

But at this point, it’s pretty hard to shake me.

Then I met Linh.

Linh shook me. And I can’t get her out of my mind. Continue reading “This Is Linh’s Story”

Secondary Education in Uganda Lets Kids Dream Big

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.

secondary education students in Uganda
Raymond and Edith share about getting to go to secondary school.

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.

Continue reading “Secondary Education in Uganda Lets Kids Dream Big”

Why Do You Sponsor Us?

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.

Continue reading “Why Do You Sponsor Us?”