Keeping Kids Connected During COVID-19

In Delhi, children felt isolation, bored and disconnected from their Holt-supported community during their city-wide lockdown. But then, they started a vlog to connect with each other — and it’s been more meaningful than they ever expected.

“Hello Friends! I’m Deepa,” says a young girl, giving a slight wave to the camera. Deepa wears her black hair in two low French braids fastened with purple scrunchies, and has a thin black choker necklace around her neck.

A friendly greeting and introduction like this is how 11-year-old Deepa starts all of her videos on the KARE Kids vlog. In her first video, she shares about herself, her life and her family. In a later video, titled “Arts and Crafts with Deepa,” she shows how to make a pop-up greeting card. In the one before that she shares yoga tips, and in another she tells everyone which superpower she would choose to have and why.

In her latest video on the vlog. Deepa shares about which superpower she would want to have.

Deepa is one of 28 children who contribute to the KARE Kids Vlog Channel. Although, with its classroom-like feel, it’s really more like a community of friends than just a YouTube channel. Each of these children lives in Delhi, India and are part of the Kinship Care and Relational Engagement or “KARE” program through Shishu Sangopan Griha (SSG), Holt’s partner organization in the city.

Continue reading “Keeping Kids Connected During COVID-19”

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”

Project Gifts of Hope

Through Holt’s Gifts of Hope catalog, English professor and adoptee Tara Robbins Fee helps her students think critically about — and find solutions to — the problems affecting our world.  

Tara with her family.
Tara with her husband and children.

I am a professor of English, wife and mom, and Holt adoptee. I spent my childhood in rural South Jersey, reading Nancy Drew mysteries and Little House books and happily running around in the woods behind the house my parents built. Growing up, I rarely thought about the five months I spent in Korea before the day I arrived at JFK airport in New York City, the day depicted in our family photos, where my mother reaches out to hold me for the first time. That was the moment that I understood as my family origin story. Continue reading “Project Gifts of Hope”

Can a Sewing Machine Actually Help?

sewing machine in CambodiaWhen Narin’s dad lost his job because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Gift of Hope of a sewing machine saved their family.   

Narin’s family was empowered, independent and thriving.

At the beginning of 2020, they were doing well. They had food to eat, a stable income, the children were going to school, and 16-year-old Narin finally had the medical care he needed — all thanks to the generosity of Holt donors.

But then the coronavirus pandemic began. And their family plunged once again into crisis.

Continue reading “Can a Sewing Machine Actually Help?”

A Herd of Sheep, a Lifetime of Hope

For her class community service project, adoptee Anna Hebert launches a fundraising campaign for impoverished families in Mongolia — and raises enough to provide a herd of sheep and goats for three families!

My name is Anna Hebert, and I am currently in 11th grade at a public charter school in Southern California. I was born in a small province in China called Hunan and adopted through Holt as a baby. I have always loved helping out those who are less fortunate than I am.

This whole project started because my school has a graduation requirement to do a community service project. After learning about this graduation requirement in seventh grade, I was really excited to tackle a project that would change the lives of others in a positive way. Continue reading “A Herd of Sheep, a Lifetime of Hope”

Update: How You’re Helping Children & Families During COVID-19

From giving emergency food, water and medical supplies to supporting tele-counseling and more, you are doing amazing things to help children and families during this global health crisis. Here are the latest updates from the field.

Over the past few months, we’ve received lots of questions from you about how the coronavirus crisis is affecting children and families you help around the world.

In many ways, their lives may look similar to yours right now: children are home from school, parents are out of work or trying to find ways to work from home, they’re staying home — or wearing a mask when they have to go out in public. Parents and Holt staff in the field are teaching and reminding kids to “Wash your hands!” and “Don’t touch your face!”

But for children without families and families in poverty — the children and families you support — the effects of this coronavirus pandemic could have been devastating.

We’ve shared a lot about these needs, and you can read more about them here.

While the crisis is still ongoing and children and families will continue to face needs in the weeks and months to come, right now we want to share some good news…

Because of you, to date, our staff tell us that not one child in our programs has gotten sick from the coronavirus. Children who were hungry now have food. Families in crisis are getting the help they need! 

Here are just some of the amazing updates on children and families you’ve helped since this crisis began:

Continue reading “Update: How You’re Helping Children & Families During COVID-19”

Unprecedented Times: Why Holt Must Still Fundraise Through This Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone, and in ways that may make giving more difficult. But we are simply amazed by the incredible commitment and generosity of our donors — even in a time of global crisis. You have not forgotten the children, and neither will we.

A message from Phillip Littleton, Holt’s president & CEO: 

Along with you and the rest of the world, Holt is figuring out how to press on with our lives and our work during this time of global crisis.

Everything has changed. Our headquarters, branches and offices overseas are empty as employees work from home. Social workers here at home and around the world are continuing to serve children and families, and this often means finding new ways to do so from afar.

Unprecedented is the word that we keep using to describe this new normal. Few, if any of us, alive today have ever experienced anything like this. And even as global leaders in the field of international adoption and child welfare, we are humbled by the challenges we now face as an organization. Continue reading “Unprecedented Times: Why Holt Must Still Fundraise Through This Pandemic”

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”