Amid an orphan care crisis in South Korea, Holt sponsors and donors help care for children in greatest need — and support a long-term solution.
In South Korea, a 1-year-old sits in a crib. Surrounded by other children, in identical cribs, she lifts up her arms as her caregiver walks past. Her caregiver lovingly picks her up, then places her on the floor to play with the toys that she shares with everyone else. She cries, desperate for one more moment of attention.
She’s healthy, developing well, “a lovely child,” as her caregivers describe her. But she will most likely never have a loving, permanent family of her own.
Every year, over 6,000 young adults age out of orphanages in Korea. As “orphans,” they face stigma and discrimination, and have no support or guidance. But one organization is now working to change that — providing love, and hope, beyond the orphanage.
Myung Hoon plays the viola beautifully.
Beautifully enough to win second place in a solo competition with musicians who learned to play the instrument years before he did. Beautifully enough to earn a scholarship to New York’s prestigious Manhattan School of Music. But no matter how beautifully he played, for a long time, Myung Hoon never felt like he was enough. Like he deserved what he achieved.
We are starting 2019 inspired and filled with gratitude — all because of our donors! Thank you to every child sponsor, every donor, every advocate and every person who donated their time, money or social media platform to help a child in need this year!
Sick children received critically needed medicines and surgeries.
Boys and girls learned they could go to school — in some cases for the first time! They received uniforms, books and supplies.
Children in orphanages received the one-on-one care they need to grow and thrive. Hundreds joined adoptive families. Many finally felt loved and accepted, joining foster families and group homes free from stigma and ridicule.
Single moms received job skills training, parenting help, free daycare support, and some even received new homes! Many more finally felt like they had a team of support wrapping them in encouragement and hope for the future with services like community savings programs, microloans, livestock training, counseling and much, much more.
Some women — and many children — fled or were rescued from violent situations.
Any child who loses their parents suffers unimaginable grief and heartache. But for one population of children growing up in China, the reason they lost their parents adds a whole other level of loss, heartache and isolation — even within their own families. They are not just orphans. They are AIDS orphans.
It was as if time stood still.
Everything sat undisturbed — preserved in the moment their son left his childhood home for a new life in the city.
A couple of bikes stood leaning in the doorway, covered in dust. A calendar remained open to November 2016, the month their son moved to his group home. Becca noticed a hat with a flower hanging on the wall.
“I wondered if this was his grandmother’s hat,” says Becca, now mom to the boy who once lived in this cold concrete block home. Becca wondered if his grandmother wore this hat while working in the fields that surrounded their family compound.
Here and there, Becca also caught glimpses of the child her now teenage son once was. The child who left Spiderman stickers and hand-drawn pictures taped to the walls, rollerblades and tiny shoes by the door. The child who created an elaborate chalk drawing of a guitar on the window, and lines on the wall to prove he was growing taller.
While traveling on the Holt Mongolia Vision Trip, adoptee Robyn MacKay visited an orphanage that she and other donors support in Mongolia.
It was a perfect sunny day when I stepped off the bus in Darkhan City, Mongolia, about four hours north of the capital of Ulaanbaatar, close to the border of Russia. I was on Holt’s second Mongolia Vision Trip and we arrived at the Sun Child Orphanage, a program that we had not visited on the previous trip. As soon as we entered the gate onto the grounds of Sun Child, I knew something special was happening. The children greeted us inside the gate and approached us one by one, with hugs, smiles and English phrases such as, “Nice to meet you.” Continue reading “The Sun Children of Mongolia”
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.