A Day of Celebration and Hope

Thanks to Holt sponsors, children in Holt’s programs around the world received gifts and had birthday celebrations for International Day of the Child!

In a year filled with COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines and other difficulties, this International Day of the Child celebration was just what the children needed. The birthday parties were a chance for them to have fun and feel celebrated and special. Thank you for making it such a joyous day for these children!

Here are reports from just some of this year’s celebrations:

Continue reading “A Day of Celebration and Hope”

How COVID-19 is Affecting Children and Families in Colombia

Holt’s in-country representative for Colombia, Ana Maria Fernandez, and U.S.-based program manager, Malia Robello, share how crisis of COVID in Colombia is affecting vulnerable children and families and how Holt sponsors and donors help meet their most urgent needs. 

During COVID-19 in Colombia, a Holt partner distributes groceries to families in need.
Holt partner FANA distributes groceries to families in need.

How is the pandemic currently affecting children and families in Colombia?

ANA MARIA: Definitely there is an increase in violence, abuse and neglect. But Colombia had a very long, very strict lockdown. At the beginning of the pandemic, no one was allowed to leave their homes. … So it’s been really difficult to identify cases because children are not going to school. Medical care, unless it’s an emergency, is also reduced. … The two biggest [child abuse] reporters — schools and hospitals — are not seeing kids so it’s hard to know.

Right now, we are seeing an increase in the number of children that are coming into the [child protection] system, but still, it’s lower [than when schools and hospitals could report cases]. … [Due to social distancing restrictions], there’s not a lot of staff going to visit [families]. So imagine the situation of the children that are below the radar. Continue reading “How COVID-19 is Affecting Children and Families in Colombia”

The Grand Dream of One Single Mother in Korea

A single mother in Korea shares her story about choosing to parent her child while staying in one of Holt’s donor-supported single mother shelters. This story was originally published on the Holt Stories blog in April 2016.

In Korea, unwed motherhood is one of the leading reasons women choose adoption for their children. When a single woman becomes pregnant, she could lose everything — her family, friends, career, education, housing and the hope of these things in the future. This stigma is so strong and enduring that often, women feel like they don’t have a choice except to relinquish their child for adoption.

Through our partner agency in Korea — and with the support of Holt donors — we work to empower women and show them that they do have a choice. Holt Korea operates several shelters for mothers and their children where they can receive free housing, nutritious food, counseling and educational support in a safe and positive environment. The overall mission of the shelters is to help each mother gain the skills she needs to successfully parent, provide for her child and care for herself.

The following story is written by a woman who lives with her son at the Holt Morning Garden unwed mother and child shelter. Because of the support she and her son, Ji-ho, receive, this young woman decided not only to parent her son — but also to pursue higher education despite the discrimination she would likely face in the admissions process.

Defying all odds, she was accepted to college and is now studying to become a social worker so she can help other single mothers like herself as they work to overcome the stigma that is so firmly entrenched in Korean culture.

Continue reading “The Grand Dream of One Single Mother in Korea”

Best Birthday Snapshots

It’s so fun to see how children in Holt’s programs celebrate their birthdays around the world!

Every year on June 1,  International Day of the Child, Holt kids around the world have the biggest birthday bash of the year — all thanks to Holt sponsors and donors like you!

Here are some of our favorite photos of birthdays around the world from years past:

 

Just $25 gives a child in living in an orphanage or in poverty a handpicked gift, special meal and birthday party on June 1 — International Day of the Child! 

Last Year’s “Happy Birthday” to Children in Vietnam    

In an update report to Holt sponsors and donors, Holt’s program director, Hang Dam, shares about last year’s International Day of the Child birthday celebration for children in Vietnam.  

Dear Holt Sponsors and Donors,

On the behalf of children at a daycare facility in Yen Bai province, we would like to express our deepest appreciation for your generous support to bring in a day full of happiness and joy for the kids on International Children’s Day 2020. Continue reading “Last Year’s “Happy Birthday” to Children in Vietnam    “

10 Ways You Changed Children’s Lives in 2020

The year 2020 was truly an unprecedented one. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work and live, and caused a tragic loss of life and livelihood on a scale few if any of us have ever seen. But as we look back on the year, and feel sorrow for the lives lost, we also feel immense gratitude for Holt’s incredible supporters who responded to this crisis with selflessness, compassion and generosity.

Because of you — because of your kindness and generosity — 288,405 children and families in 14 countries around the world received the life-changing care and services they needed to stay strong and healthy throughout this unprecedented year. Your devotion to children in need during this time of global crisis is truly inspiring. And we’re so incredibly thankful for you.

Here are 10 specific ways that your heartfelt giving changed the lives of children and families in Holt programs last year:

Last year, we were truly humbled by your generous giving in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in 2020, when we told you that orphanages in China didn’t have enough masks and PPE to protect children in care, you gave above and beyond our expectations — making it possible to care for kids in more orphanages than we partner with. When we told you that lockdown measures were causing children to go hungry in countries like India and Mongolia, your donations ensured our teams on the ground could distribute emergency food to thousands of families. Continue reading “10 Ways You Changed Children’s Lives in 2020”

COVID-19’s Global Impact on Children: Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented amount of stress and anxiety — especially among children and families in Holt programs around the world. Learn how Holt’s on-the-ground team in Pune, India is helping to address this mental health crisis and protect the overall wellbeing of sponsored kids and families. 

When India imposed a nationwide lockdown early in the pandemic, families across the country went into crisis. But nowhere more so than in the impoverished slum communities where Holt-sponsored children and families live. Under strict quarantine measures, they could not leave their homes for work or school or even to go to the grocery store. They had no income, minimal savings, and very quickly ran out of food. Some had a limited supply of lifesaving medications. Some went days without anything to eat. Continue reading “COVID-19’s Global Impact on Children: Mental Health”

Story Behind The Photo: Holt Child Sponsorship in Uganda

We met Veronica on a trip to Uganda in June 2016. She lives in a rural village about 35 km outside of Kampala, where Holt sponsors and donors support vulnerable children and their families.

After a day of visiting families, we met this extraordinary woman, who at 69 is caring for ten grandchildren. Inside her small sitting room, Veronica perched on the edge of a chair with her grandchildren sitting on the floor behind her — filling every inch of remaining space. Ten beautiful pairs of eyes peered at us as we listened to Veronica share her story and explain what motivates her to continue working well into her old age to provide for her many grandchildren.

“First, I get my motivation from God, Jesus Christ,” she said in Luganda. “And because I have sponsors who have come to support us, it gives me the motivation to continue looking after them.”

 

No one on our team can remember what we said that made Veronica laugh so boisterously, but her face lit up in the most beautiful way — creating a moment we will never forget.