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”

Holt Partners With Vitamin Angels in Uganda

In partnership with the nonprofit Vitamin Angels, Holt’s nutrition team helps bring vital supplements and medication to vulnerable women and children in rural Uganda. 

A health worker administers vitamin supplements to a child in rural Uganda.
A healthcare worker administers vitamin supplements to a child at a child health camp in rural Uganda.

In October 2018, Holt’s nutrition team launched a partnership with Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit organization that provides vitamins and deworming medication to mothers and children under age 5 who are at risk of malnutrition. Continue reading “Holt Partners With Vitamin Angels in Uganda”

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”

Hunger in Haiti

Over one-third of child deaths in Haiti are due to malnutrition. But malnutrition is not a simple problem. 

Dayana couldn’t afford milk. Sometimes, instead, she would make a juice out of carrots and porridge for her daughter, Quyana. 

Undernourished herself, Widline barely had any breastmilk to feed her newborn son, Bernardo. She tried to nurse, but after a month, he just stopped feeding.

Continue reading “Hunger in Haiti”

Roots to Grow! Life Skills Training for Orphaned Kids in Mongolia

Holt’s Child Nutrition Program team travels to Mongolia to teach older children in institutional care an important life skill — how to plan and prepare nourishing meals.

In September 2019, the Holt International Child Nutrition Program piloted our very first children’s life skills training — “Roots to Grow!” This training, designed for older children living in institutional care, is a fun and interactive way to learn about basic life skills, including topics such as cooking, kitchen safety, nutrition basics, grocery budgeting, menu planning, and hygiene and sanitation. Continue reading “Roots to Grow! Life Skills Training for Orphaned Kids in Mongolia”

More Than Nutrition: Holt’s CNP Team Helps One Girl With FASD

It’s always heartbreaking when children have been exposed to drugs or alcohol. But Holt’s child nutrition program can help improve the health and nutrition of these children. And for one little girl with FASD in Mongolia, the program has had a huge impact on her life.   

Altansarnai entered into care at of one of Holt’s partnering care centers in Mongolia shortly after being born. Nothing was known about her family or prenatal circumstances. She was small and very sick. Although the staff provided care for her sickness and appropriate formula for her age, they still noted that over time her development seemed to be slow and delayed. She seemed behind her peers in physical growth, was often fussy, and had difficulty calming herself down. Continue reading “More Than Nutrition: Holt’s CNP Team Helps One Girl With FASD”

How Holt’s Feeding and Positioning Manual Changes Children’s Lives

Holt International's Feeding and Positioning Manual.

In spring 2019, Holt’s nutrition program released Holt International’s Feeding and Positioning Manual: Guidelines for Working with Babies and Children. The first of its kind, this publication will have a lasting and life-changing impact on the lives of children in orphanages and impoverished communities around the world. 

Access the Manual Here!

As *Lanh lay on his back, his wide, fearful eyes filled with tears as he choked on each bite of food spooned into his mouth.

“It was hard to watch,” says Emily DeLacey, Holt’s nutrition program manager. Continue reading “How Holt’s Feeding and Positioning Manual Changes Children’s Lives”

Analyn’s New World

Born with cerebral palsy and placed in an orphanage at 10 months old, Analyn had a small world — mostly consisting of the ceiling tiles above her crib in the Philippines. But then, an unexpected intervention changed everything.

Analyn’s world was small. About four ceiling tiles to be exact. Ceiling tiles that she stared at for hours and hours every day and every night from her crib at an orphanage in the Philippines.

Analyn in her crib.
Continue reading “Analyn’s New World”