The Greatest Gift a Sponsor Can Give

When Holt staff member Celeste Snodgrass had the chance to meet her sponsored child, it affirmed her belief that sponsors are the key to keeping children out of orphanages — and with their families.

Celeste slipped off her sandals and swung her legs out of the SUV and into the squishy, dark mud. Looking at her surroundings, she couldn’t believe she was here. Lush palm groves lined the rutty, narrow dirt road that led her to a small collection of thatched houses raised on wooden stilts. 

A child and family's home in Thailand
Celeste and local Holt staff wade through knee-deep water as they leave Panit’s home.

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5 Ways School Supplies Change Kids’ Lives

In developing countries around the world, going to school means much more than learning.

At the Yesus Mena Deaf School in Shinshicho, Ethiopia, Holt donors provide the books and supplies that children need to learn.  Many of these kids had no way to communicate before this sign language-based school opened in their community!

But before children can go to school, they need — and are often required to have — specific school supplies. The cost of supplies and uniforms are often too high for families living in poverty — causing children to drop out early. Below, we list five ways that your gift of school supplies can change kids’ lives.

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Children Who Deserve a Chance

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. 

Because she was abandoned. 

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The Children We Sponsor Are Real

For Jerrod and Melissa Adair, meeting their sponsored child in Mongolia was not just a blessing. It was a dream come true.

Jerrod and Melissa with her sponsored child, her sponsored child's twin sister, mom and Holt staff members in Ulaanbaatar.
Jerrod and Melissa with her sponsored child, her sponsored child’s twin sister, mom and Holt staff members in Ulaanbaatar.

Jerrod and Melissa Adair stood on a street corner in front of a large shopping mall in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. They had traveled nearly 6,500 miles from their home in Oklahoma, and now waited in anticipation with toys in their arms. When they turned the corner, they recognized them immediately. 

“One was dressed in a beautiful red dress, and as I turned the corner, I saw they’re twins,” Jerrod says. “A double blessing!”

Each holding onto their mom’s hand, the twin sisters walked toward them in matching frilly red dresses, striped tights and white sandals. For over a year, Jerrod and Melissa had read about, and prayed for, these girls and their family. But in that time, they had developed a special connection with one girl in particular — Narantuya, their sponsored child. 

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Now There is Light

In her early teens, Devi thought she’d never be able to attend school. But then, Holt sponsors lifted her family out of the darkness.

When Devi imagined her life, it looked a lot like her mother’s. She would never learn to read or write. She would get married and have children at 15 or 16. She would work on the farm or do chores for a wealthy family. Life would be difficult. 

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Only One, But Still One

When 7-year-old Amelia Rose Cook learned about one girl’s need for a cleft lip surgery, she decided to help not just one but many kids — sending a ripple of kindness throughout her community, and the world.

Amelia with her mom and dad and brother, Jameson.
Amelia with her mom and dad and brother, Jameson.

I can’t remember exactly when I felt a sense of urgency to teach my children Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” This verse inspired me to start a kindness project in our home from the time my children were extremely young. I felt led to teach them that kindness should exude from them as natural as breathing. Kindness and love should be the very essence of our Christian lives. 

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A Dream To Save

Before a sponsor starting supporting her, Mekdes wasn’t sure if she could even stay in school in her rural community of Ethiopia  — much less follow her dream of becoming a doctor.

Eighteen-year-old Mekdes dreams of becoming a doctor one day.  Today, she is close to realizing her dream. Ten years ago, however, Mekdes’ future seemed uncertain.

Though bright and driven, Mekdes faced overwhelming challenges, and her family’s economic status seemed to dictate another path entirely — a path not nearly as bright, and certainty not one that would lead to a medical profession, or even an education.

Before sponsors and donors began supporting them, Mekdes and her family struggled to overcome their dire circumstances. But, today, they have hope.
Before sponsors and donors began supporting them, Mekdes and her family struggled to overcome their dire circumstances. But, today, they have hope.

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Bringing Education To Their World

Imagine your sponsored child receiving her first school uniform or the news that he can attend school on a one-year scholarship. Imagine the opportunities that an education will provide her, knowing that going to school helps prevent gender-based violence and discrimination.

Sponsorship — and your commitment to your sponsored child — empowers boys and girls around the world to overcome poverty and achieve their dreams. 

Cambodia

At a preschool in Cambodia’s impoverished Kampot province, a sponsored girl leans on her desk. In many rural areas of Cambodia, children do not have access to a preschool education, resulting in delayed social, language and academic development. But in Kampot, children now attend one of five sponsor-supported preschools where they have a safe space to eat snacks, learn skills and prepare for life-long success in school. Students like this young girl can now pursue their dreams by receiving an early education. Continue reading “Bringing Education To Their World”

A Whole New World

As five decades of brutal war come to an end in Colombia, families have begun to heal from the violence and crime that ravaged their communities. And now, with the support of sponsors, many have begun to create a happier, more hopeful future for their children.

Yalena peeks out the side of her princess castle — a sheer, pink-and-white cylindrical-shaped tent with a miniature kitchen set and a family of stuffed animals to keep her company. Monica, her mom, grabs her foot, making her giggle and scoot back to safety. Continue reading “A Whole New World”

It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Kids’ Lives in Thailand

A photo essay about the impact Holt sponsors and donors have created in the lives of children and families living in one coastal community in Thailand. 

Thick, sticky mud swallows your shoes as you approach the shoreline, where about five wooden boats dock in southern Thailand. After school, the kids of this community toss their shoes aside and let the mud squish in between their toes as they run to climb up onto their fathers’ boats. Fishing is the livelihood and lifestyle of the people here. It has been for generations. Continue reading “It Takes a Village: Holt Sponsors Change Kids’ Lives in Thailand”