New Sponsorship Documents

We have exciting news for our awesome child sponsors this week!

Soon, sponsors of children living in Cambodia, China, India, Mongolia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam will receive additional and personalized updates from their sponsored child. Sponsors of children in Ethiopia will begin receiving these updated in early 2015!

Over the next few months, watch your mailbox for this envelope — or, if you receive paperless updates, keep an eye on your email.

Inside, you will find a drawing, photo or letter from your sponsored child! We are excited for sponsors to learn more about the child they help support, and the children in our programs are excited to share more about themselves with you.

Most sponsors will receive at least one additional update from their child every year — building on the quarterly updates they already receive from Holt. Some sponsors may even receive more than one.

As our overseas program staff receive more training and improved technology, we hope to continue to expand and improve communications between sponsors and their sponsored child.

If you have questions about when you will receive a photo, drawing or letter from your sponsored child, you can call us at 1-541-451-0731, email us at sponsorship@holtinternational.org or visit the MyHolt Sponsorship Service Center by clicking here.

Check out a few of the beautiful photos, letters and pictures we’ve received from children in our programs so far: Continue reading “New Sponsorship Documents”

You can help change a child’s destiny!

During a holiday celebration at the school for deaf students Holt supports, classes met outside for a performance of the nativity story.

For children around the world with disabilities, like 9-year-old Tigabu, the barriers to a quality education often seem so large and difficult to overcome, they feel hopeless.

Tigabu’s parents are subsistence farmers in Shinshicho, Ethiopia and they struggle to afford even basic necessities, like food or clothing. They want their son to reap the benefits of a good education and create a better future for himself, but physical disabilities are heavily stigmatized in Ethiopia.

Many villagers in this region still believe that only a family curse could cause their children to be born deaf. However, this so-called “curse” affects an abnormally high number of children in Shinshicho, and no one is sure why. Regardless of prevalence, resources for children with disabilities are scarce, schools turn deaf children away, and even the tools to independently learn sign language are virtually non-existent.

It’s a heartbreaking reality, and many deaf children have been hidden away, marginalized from the community, excluded from schools, and destined for a life of poverty.

Children in one class at the school for deaf students in Shinshicho that Holt supports stop to smile for a photo.

But not anymore.

On a stormy, hot day in early September, Tigabu walked two hours for his first day of 4th grade classes at the only deaf school in the region — a school Holt helped to start in 2010 and that you help us continue to support today.

This year, more than 400 deaf children enrolled for classes.

Many are able to attend thanks to Holt’s supporters who provide more than just school fees, uniforms and supplies. The students also have access to medical care, supplemental food and clothing, and vocational training and education for their parents — so families can diversify their income and rely less on farming.

With help from people like you, the students and their families will grow strong, stable and self-reliant — eventually generating enough income to cover all their needs and invest in their future!

When you give a gift to our family strengthening fund, you help stabilize or reunite vulnerable families like Tigabu’s, and not just in Ethiopia, but in more than 11 countries where we work!

Even a small gift makes a life-long impact on the children and families we serve. Even a small gift can be enough to keep a family together and help a child choose a new destiny —and a better, more stable future.

Read more about Tigabu, and how your support is helping children attend school and families grow strong in Ethiopia by clicking here.

With Support from Holt, Tra Never Had to Leave Her Family

Recently, several Holt staff traveled to Vietnam to meet the children and families we serve. While there, they met a young intern at our office in Hanoi who shared a story so moving that we just had to pass it on to you.

Growing up the daughter of a single mother in Vietnam, Tra had very little. Tra’s mother was not well and struggled to support Tra and her two siblings all by herself. As she grew sicker and sicker, it became increasingly difficult for Tra’s mom to make ends meet.

When Tra was in grade school, Holt provided the support her family needed to become stable and self-reliant. Today, Tra is a college graduate and Holt intern in Hanoi, Vietnam!

Then one day, everything changed.

“It was a long time ago. I was in the second or third grade,” Tra said. “I saw a group of people come to the house, asking about our family’s circumstances. When they left, my mom explained that Holt came to provide assistance.”

To help Tra’s mom earn an income to support her children — and also pay her medical bills — Holt provided the funding for her to purchase a sewing machine. With the money she earned selling garments, she was able to continue her treatment and provide food, clothing, school fees and other basic necessities for Tra and her siblings.

“In life, if we see similar people having difficulties,” Tra’s mom told her at the time, “we have to give back.”

Recently, Tra graduated from college with a social affairs degree. She plans to use her newly acquired skills to help other children and families in need.

“My mom said that if one day we have a chance, we have to go back to Holt and thank them and find a way to help other people,” Tra said. “This may be the reason why it’s my destiny to work with Holt serving children and families.”

At Holt, stories like Tra’s are what inspire us in our work every day. This story also captures what we do and why we do it. With your help, we strive to help children stay in the loving care of their families, and we do so by giving struggling parents like Tra’s mom the tools and resources they need to become strong and self-reliant.

While meeting with our staff, Tra shared through tears that her mom passed away three years ago. Although her illness could not be cured, Tra’s mom never had to take her children to an orphanage or place them for adoption — in large part because of Holt and Holt supporters like you.

Please consider giving a gift today to help us continue this important work — to help mothers care for their babies, to help families stay together, and to help children like Tra grow strong, healthy and educated. The help you give today may even impact the heart of a child so much that one day, they will also give back… to help another child and another family when they needed it most.

Click here to give to our family strengthening campaign for children and families!

Click here to read more about how Holt is working in Vietnam to help children grow and thrive in the loving care of their birth families.

Ethiopia students return to school with Holt’s support

In Ethiopia, students head to school this month with support from their Holt sponsors and donors — some for the first time.

Through our work with vulnerable families in Shinshicho, Holt found that many children who start school — even at 5 or 6 years old — weren’t prepared for classes. They lacked an understanding of structure, routine and basic, preschool-appropriate knowledge. In response, we partnered with the community of Shinshicho to support the first Kindergarten in the region.

In the first week of September, the dark mass of stormy skies over Shinshicho finally breaks apart, however briefly.

There is still a 90 percent chance of rain again today, the first day of school, as there has been for nearly three months. Between the thunderstorms, wind and seemingly endless rain, the dirt roads are washed out and muddy, with deep puddles blocking even the most major roadways.

Soon, though, the rainy season will change — returning to a hot and dry dust storm and droughts that make farmers curse their land.

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Tigabu signs “I love you” to a Holt staff visitor.

Born sixth in a family with seven children, 9-year-old Tigabu has more than once wondered if, indeed, his family is cursed. His parents are subsistence farmers who struggle to afford even basic necessities, like food or clothing. His four sisters and two brothers help where they can to earn extra income for the family, but that often means skipping class to help their parents harvest or carry crops to market.

Until recently, however, Tigabu and his siblings had no school to miss. Their opportunity to attend school is a new one. Continue reading “Ethiopia students return to school with Holt’s support”

From Children in China to Their Sponsors in the U.S… Thank You!

Earlier this year, Holt’s China staff interviewed several children in Holt’s sponsorship program in Nanning, Guangxi province. Click below to view a few short clips of the children sharing a message with their sponsors in the U.S.!

Four years ago, Holt started a family strengthening project in Nanning to help orphans living on their own and young students from vulnerable single-parent families. Most of the children have lost at least one parent. In some cases, the one remaining parent in these children’s lives has left them — leaving them with no support, and no one to care for them.

With support from Holt sponsors, over 2,200 children are able to attend local schools in this mountainous area of southern Guangxi province. Holt funds a portion of the children’s nutritional support, education materials and tuition fees. By covering their educational expenses, this project also helps children who have living family members to remain in the loving care of their birth families — preventing separation due to economic stress. Donations also help to provide school uniforms and bedding for the children.

This project is managed in partnership with the local Nanning Education Foundation and the local government in Heng County.

In both 2012 and 2013, the Civil Affairs Ministry and China Charity Federation named the Holt Nanning Family Strengthening project one of the 40 most influential projects in China.

Click below to see and hear from a few of the students in this program…

China-Sponsored Children Testimonials from Holt International on Vimeo.

Not yet a Holt sponsor? Become one today!

Click here to read more about our work in China!

Love in Action: Holt Supporters Visit the Jeonju Babies’ Home in Korea

Last April, several Holt supporters traveled to Korea to see our work and meet the children, families, single mothers and others we serve in the country where Holt was founded. After visiting the Jeonju Babies’ Home — a temporary care center for young children waiting to reunite with their families — they felt inspired to do more.

One boy was the son of a refugee. Another, a little girl, witnessed her father die tragically. Some are the children of single mothers who struggle with the stigma of unwed motherhood and the financial and social barriers it creates. Others come into care because their parents lost jobs. Or homes. Or each other.

Children in care at the Jeonju Babies’ Home in Korea all have a unique story to tell. But for all of them, the ultimate goal is the same — to one day go home.

“The goal of the babies home is to keep families together,” says Paul Kim, Holt’s director of programs in Korea. Some children stay for a week. Others stay for years. Some of their parents may choose to relinquish them for domestic adoption. But most will eventually rejoin their birth families, once they have overcome whatever caused them to place their child in care in the first place.

Since 1981, Holt International and Holt Korea have operated the babies’ home as a haven for families in crisis — a place where they can bring their children for temporary care and support while they work to get back on their feet. While Holt Korea manages the babies’ home, Holt International finds sponsors for every child in care to help provide food, clothing and other basic necessities. With the support of their sponsors, the children at Jeonju have everything they need to thrive while they wait to rejoin their birth families, or if that’s not possible, to join a loving adoptive family in Korea.

Ashley Bawl with a baby in care at Jeonju. “I felt that [Holt] has never lost its intention. Never lost its purpose,” she says. “It’s always focused on the kids.”
Continue reading “Love in Action: Holt Supporters Visit the Jeonju Babies’ Home in Korea”

Philippines Gift Team

 

What do you do to get ready for Christmas? We know it’s only September, but stay with us here.

Do you deck the halls with tinsel and bows? Drink hot cocoa by a hot fire? Brave the malls and department stores in search of the perfect gifts?

What if there was another way to get in the holiday spirit — a way to spread the joy of Christmas to those who need it most?

As a Holt sponsor to a child in the Philippines, we want to personally invite you to travel with us this December on our first annual gift team trip to the Philippines!

From December 3-11, we will enjoy a Christmas show with single mothers in Manila, take gifts to children in Cebu, and spread holiday cheer to college-aged scholars we support in Paranque. We will also see the sights, celebrate KBF’s 39th anniversary and still have plenty of time to play with the children!

The gift team trip is a unique opportunity to see Holt’s programs in action — the same programs you support through your Holt sponsorship. You will meet families in our family strengthening program, learn more about our work, and see with your own eyes how you are making a difference in the life of a child!

The deadline to register for this special trip is fast approaching. Click here to register online by October 15, or contact Sabrina Biggers at 541-505-5525 or sabrinab@holtinternational.org for more information.

We look forward to traveling with you this December!

TRIP DETAILS:
Travel Dates: 12/3/14-12/11/14
Registration Deadline: 10/15/13
Estimated cost: Approximately $4,300 – $4,600 per person. The range in cost represents air travel; hotel accommodations; domestic flights and ground transportation within the Philippines; most meals and a non-refundable required project fee of $750 per person.
*Although we cannot guarantee that you will be able to meet your sponsored child while in country, we will do our best to arrange a meeting. If you are interested in traveling with us on the Philippines Gift Team, contact Sabrina Biggers today!

How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?

Every month, you faithfully send your $34 to your sponsored child … Sort of.

Technically, you send your gift to Holt International, trusting that we will properly steward your money and direct it to your sponsored child. We don’t, in fact, actually give your sponsored child and his or her family $34 in cash or check each month.

Why, you ask? Wouldn’t our sponsorship program be just as effective if we simply wrote a check each month?

Well, that’s a great question, and it is one that our sponsorship team hears often.

There are many reasons why Holt doesn’t give cash to the children and families in our programs, but the biggest reason is that we care deeply about those who we serve and we want every mother, father and child in our programs to be successful. Remember, Holt’s ultimate goal is to ensure that every child has a permanent, loving family. But while our goal for every child is the same, the way we work toward that goal is different for every child. Continue reading “How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?”

Annual Holt Camp Out

As an adoptee and member of Holt’s marketing and development team, Courtney Young has been connected with Holt for most of her life. After spending a week with Holt families at an annual campout in Florence, Oregon, Courtney reflects on Holt’s legacy — old and new.

More than 70 families attended a Holt families camp out at Honeyman State Park in Florence, Oregon in August. For adoptees, it is a great place to connect with other children who share the experience of adoption. Above, three children bike through the camping loop.

Every summer, people from all over the country head to the forests and coast to enjoy some of the finest camping in the Pacific Northwest.  Oregon is a beautiful state, a sea of greenery that spans 30 million acres, covered in Douglas fir, ponderosa pines, evergreens and forestry that almost seem magical.  It’s nature’s finest playground, and I grew up with it right in my backyard.  But, alas, I am one of those Oregonians who has failed to ­­­­­­enjoy all that this wonderful state has to offer.  I’ve never loved “the great outdoors” or anything short of “manicured nature.”

That was, until a group of Holt adoptive families who escape on a weeklong camping trip to Oregon every summer invited me to join them.  But first, a little Holt history:

It’s hard to comprehend just how much Holt has done in nearly 60 years and how many lives it has touched. It’s even harder to imagine when you add the mass ripple effect of families and adoptees preserving the mission of the agency for five decades. Portland Area Holt Families (PAHF) formed in 2008 with the purpose of providing parental support and cultural awareness for international adoptive families.  However, years before, the same group that started PAHF began hosting an annual family camp out at Honeyman State Park on Oregon’s central coast — a tradition they have continued since 1987. Continue reading “Annual Holt Camp Out”

VCT Expands Services for Families in India

In 1988, Holt helped establish one of our longest-standing partner agencies in India. In Bangalore, we helped found Vathsalya Charitable Trust (VCT) — an organization that has, through the years, provided loving, attentive care to orphaned, abandoned or homeless children. Here, Holt also adapted our model of foster care — a model of attentive, nurturing care to help children grow and thrive while awaiting permanent placement. For these children, VCT worked to find permanent, loving families in both India and the U.S., and through the years, many Indian children have joined stable homes. Continue reading “VCT Expands Services for Families in India”