This is a phrase children often hear in doctor’s offices — their little legs dangling over a paper-covered table, or while their mom holds them with reassurance it will be over before they know it.
A vaccine shot only hurts for a second, but its positive effect is felt for a lifetime.
This week is World Immunization Week, a time to recognize and celebrate how vaccines have prevented thousands of children from suffering or dying from diseases like polio, meningitis and yellow fever. But the fight is not over. Today, many children around the world still do not receive the immunizations that could save their lives.
In fact, Ethiopia, India, Uganda and the Philippines — countries where Holt works — have some of the highest rates of unvaccinated children. And when children first enter into Holt’s care centers or family strengthening programs, they are in need of this lifesaving service.
World Health Day is April 7, and we have four easy ways that you can participate in this important global awareness day and spread improved health to the most vulnerable children, women and communities around the world. When you give a Gift of Hope, you provide lifesaving tools and resources exactly where they are needed most. Below are four health-related items of greatest need and with huge potential for impact!
Especially in difficult-to-reach, rural areas, many children do not receive routine childhood vaccines that could save their lives — and prevent the spread of deadly disease. Giving one child the vaccines they need has limitless power to reduce child mortality. GIVE NOW!
We all love feel-good stories. At Holt, we are surrounded by miracles, triumphant underdog tales and inspiring success stories every day. But sometimes, the best stories aren’t told through words. Today, we look back at a few of our favorite stories of hope, love, family and incredible, life-changing impact — not told through words, but pictures. We’ve rounded up our top 10 favorite, most iconic photos of the year. It’s likely that if you’ve followed us on social media, checked out our website, started sponsoring a child, given a gift to help a child in need or started your adoption journey, you’ve seen at least one of these photos this year. Today, we share the stories behind the photos, and explain why these images exemplify Holt’s work and the incredible impact of Holt’s friends, families and supporters around the world. Enjoy!
Photo 10: Summer Camps
Every summer, Holt Adoptee Camp is both fun and inspirational for the kids and teens who attend. At four sleep-away camps across the country, adoptees spend a week hiking, swimming, playing games and enjoying evenings around a campfire with fellow transracial adoptees and adoptee counselors. This is a time and place for adoptees to just be themselves, surrounded by other people who share similar stories and family histories. Together, they explore identity, race and other adoptee-specific topics in an open, safe setting. Mostly, they have fun! In the photo below, 2015 camp director Chris McGinn — who will return to direct camps in 2016! — serves as jungle gym and friend to 9-year-old Adam Wachner during camp in Nebraska. In the background, 16-year-old Alec Zoz and 13-year-old Karl McGillvray sport Holt camp shirts specially designed by Holt camp counselors.
As Holt’s China team works to find families for a growing number of children with complex heart disease, a partnership develops with Little Hearts Medical — a groundbreaking, U.S.-based organization of cardiac surgeons, cardiologists and adoptive families who are working to ensure children receive the medical interventions they need early on, and while still in China.
In June 2014, when hopeful adoptive parents Heather and Vince Preston received a referral from Holt’s China program, they were prepared for a child with a heart condition. They had expressed their openness to this special need when applying, and they knew the need was great.
But neither of them were medical doctors. And they knew that “heart condition” could mean a broad spectrum of things — from a minor hole that would close on its own to a chronic, life-threatening disease that would require round-the-clock care. Before accepting the referral, they needed more information. And they needed advice from someone experienced — someone who knew what she was talking about. Someone like Andrea.
But as Heather soon discovered, there’s no one quite “like” Andrea.
“At the time, I was excited to speak with her,” Heather says of Andrea, who often mentors Holt families who are considering an adoption of a child with complex heart disease (CHD). “But I did not realize how valuable this conversation would be.”
A mother of six with five children adopted through Holt — four of whom have CHD — Andrea also serves as executive director of Little Hearts Medical, an organization that brings life-saving cardiac care to orphaned children and children from poor families in China. Needless to say, she’s a busy woman. But not too busy to take Heather’s call.
While the Prestons barreled down the highway en route to a family camping trip, Andrea sat on the phone with Heather for two straight hours — answering their questions, from a parent’s perspective, about the referral they received from Holt. Although the child’s medical file had already been assessed by a pediatric cardiologist, the information contained a lot of medical jargon and confusing information. “Throughout the two-hour drive, Andrea talked with us about [our soon-to-be son] Max’s particular flavor of CHD based upon the file review,” Heather says. Continue reading “The Heart Warriors”
Mark 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!
We are delighted to share with you that the Holt-funded Mother and Child Health Center in Shinshicho, Ethiopia has opened its doors to patients and now, for the first time, more than 250,000 men, women and children have access to advanced healthcare.
We are now recruiting families for Holt’s first ever ambassador trip to China!
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”
On a recent trip to China, Holt’s China regional coordinator visited a group home Holt supports for children living with HIV. Here, she shares some of their stories — which, though heartbreaking, are edged with hope.
We first became aware of HIV group homes in southwestern China because of a video broadcast through a Chinese news outlet. The report told the story of a 6-year-old boy whose parents had passed away, and who lived alone with his dog because his extended family and community were afraid to contract HIV. The news segment showed an overwhelming outpouring of material support after a wider population found out about the little boy’s situation, but the support he received was measured in bags of food and hand-me-down clothing left outside his door, not care and affection. His life changed dramatically when he finally moved to an HIV group home.
In the progressive tech capital of India, jobs and work are plentiful — and while this is good news overall, some of the adverse side effects from rapid urbanization and an increasing migrant population make caring for orphaned and abandoned children with special needs particularly challenging. During a visit to partner program Swanthana in April, Holt Creative Lead Billie Loewen met the children and caregivers most affected by these challenges.
A pair of deep, brown eyes peer curiously around the corner of a dark hallway. Pushing herself through a doorway, a small girl with short hair and a long purple dress appears in an old, metal wheelchair. She keeps her head low, her eyes shielded behind a red headscarf. Her short hair is held back with a barrette and a bindi decorates her forehead.
Alyssa is 16 years old, and she is paralyzed from the waist down. Abandoned by her family years ago, likely due to her disability, Alyssa has lived in a home for children with profound special needs for three years. She is one of the few residents at her care center who is able to express her thoughts verbally. Her voice is quiet, but in English she will tell you about her dreams.
Alyssa wants to be a teacher, someday, and teach little children how to dream big. She wants to live independently.