Hope Renewed For Haiti Family

Noely’s story revisited

 Brian Campbell, creative services director, is currently in Haiti with Christian music group 4HIM, touring Holt Fontana Village and learning more about Holt International’s educational *sponsorship program in this impoverished country. Back in August, Brian met a 12-year-old girl named Noely, her younger sister, Rose, and their mother, Goulette; They were a family of three struggling to survive. But today, through the support of Holt’s educational sponsorship program, Noely and her sister are able to attend school, and their mother is making tremendous strides to better her life for the sake of her children.

 Brian and Mark Harris caught up with the family on their trip to Haiti this week…

 By Brian Campbell, Creative Services Director

Arcahaie, Haiti—The hot Haitian air is filled with anticipation and excitement this morning. Christian music artist, Mark Harris, of the music group 4Him, is on his way to school. But not just any school. A young girl named Noely attends this school. You may remember her…

 In August of 2012, I met Noely, her sister, Rose Carmel, and their mother, Goulette. At that time, the family was in desperate need of food. When Holt first met the family, they hadn’t eaten in three days. For Noely and Rose, receiving a proper education seemed unlikely. Goulette wept when thinking about her daughters’ uncertain future.

But today, Noely sits among children in a classroom—children that are a year or two older than her. She sits in the front row with her books open,  her voice strong as she calls out answers to the teacher’s questions. Mark makes note that Noely looks so much younger than the rest the students. The school principal tells Mark that he advanced Noely an additional grade because she tested very high at her placement exam.

Thanks to Holt’s educational sponsorship program in Haiti, Noely and her sister, Rose, can now receive a proper education. Here, Noely sits with her classmates.

Continue reading “Hope Renewed For Haiti Family”

The Cambodian Spirit, A Glimpse

In September, Molly MacGraw arrived in Phnom Penh for a three-month, IE3 Global Internship with Pathways to Development – Holt’s partner organization in Cambodia. A human development and family sciences major at Oregon State University, Molly will over the coming months assist Pathways with child sponsorship reporting, grant writing and other tasks that will benefit from her native English skills. In turn, she will have the opportunity to immerse herself in the work of a small nonprofit serving children and families overseas. Here, Molly describes her first trip to Takeo province, a rural region where Pathways helps struggling families to care for their children. Click here to learn more about Holt’s work in Cambodia.

by Molly MacGraw, Holt and IE3 Global Intern in Cambodia

A sponsored child waits to receive her backpack during Pathways’ annual school supply distribution.

This past weekend, I traveled to Takeo province for my first work trip with Pathways to Development. Takeo is a province 2-3-4 hours southwest of Phnom Penh and is among the poorest provinces in Cambodia.  (I say 2-3-4 hours of travel because depending on how you get there – bus, motorbike, van – transportation in Cambodia can be quite the challenge and you never know what you could get.)

There are several communes within Takeo made up of many villages, but Pathways focuses on and serves two communes. This work trip was important to me because it allowed me to see what my organization does and how they help and who they serve.  Now that I am back in the city, I have a much better understanding of what I can do to help after seeing the faces of those who need our assistance.

Starting off, I Continue reading “The Cambodian Spirit, A Glimpse”

A Brighter Day For Children

 Jennifer Goette, Holt’s director of programs for South and Southeast Asia, shares about her meaningful visits with two once-struggling families in Holt’s family preservation program. Through day care services and donations provided by generous monthly sponsors, children in the Philippines have been given hope for the future. Once only a program to support children going home to families in the United States, Holt’s child sponsorship program has broadened to include support for children remaining with their families.

Manila, Philippines — Nestled down a narrow street, in a tightly packed community of tiny houses, is the Escopa 2 day care center. Escopa 2, one of six Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF) day care centers, is an oasis in the midst of a bustling neighborhood. The outside of the building is awash with color. The inside is clean and cool, providing a safe and comfortable space for 25 children in the morning session who jump with delight at seeing a visitor. I am entertained with songs and dances while the children stomp, cheer and mime the lyrics to their favorite songs. Their bright faces are eager with enthusiasm and hope. These are some of the new faces of Holt’s child sponsorship program.

Years ago, most of the children in Holt’s sponsorship program were orphaned and abandoned children who were in the process of intercountry adoption. As Holt’s work has expanded to impact the lives of more children, greater emphasis has been placed on keeping vulnerable families together. In the Philippines, Holt’s sponsorship program has expanded to support 300 children from impoverished communities with access to stimulating activities, social interaction and a nutritious meal at their local day care center.  Behind each face and each shy smile is the story of a family surviving despite the odds. I recently met two extraordinary families during my visit to the Philippines. They are convinced that access to day care services has been the key to keeping their family together.

Just around the corner from Escopa 2 day care center, the sixmember Jasmen family occupies a small, two-room house. Naty Jasmen and her husband, Rodolfo, are working hard to put food on the table and meet the basic needs of their four children. Rodolfo is currently unemployed, but manages to find some seasonal work planting and gardening at the local cemetery. Naty is the primary caregiver, earning income by selling rice cakes in the neighborhood.  Naty, like many parents, volunteers at the day care center once each week for three hours – doing whatever it takes to keep the center clean and provide the children with a mid-day meal. Her 5-year-old twin boys attend day care regularly and are thriving.  Naty proudly mentions that her eldest daughter used to attend day care and is now a healthy, well-adjusted first grader.

“Because of KBF’s day care program, my three oldest children have been able to learn how to write and color,” says Naty. “They enjoy spending time with other children and have become more socially independent.”  When I ask Naty about how her family has been impacted by day care services, big tears well up in her soft brown eyes. “My family does not have the financial resources we need,” she says. “The support has allowed my family to stay together, even after the death of one of my children. I am not sure what would have happened without this support.” Continue reading “A Brighter Day For Children”

SNAF Stories: It’s A Wonderful Life

Feeling grateful and inspired after adopting their daughter, Zoe, from Korea in 2010, Maryann and Cap Post decided to have a celebration — inviting 150 friends and family members. Instead of gifts, they asked for donations to Holt’s Special Needs Adoption Fund.  What happened next, quite simply, blew them away.

by Robin Munro, Senior Writer

When Maryann and Charles “Cap” Post came home from Korea in October of 2010 – their newly adopted daughter Zoe in their arms – they didn’t expect fanfare. But as they pulled into the driveway of their New Jersey home around 10 p.m. that night, flashbulbs greeted their arrival.

Zoe and Maryann at Zoe’s baptism party!

“My friends were in our driveway with cameras flashing,” says Maryann. “People were so happy for us that we adopted a little girl.”

Over the previous 2-and-a-half years, these same friends had stood by their side as they navigated the demanding and – at times – trying adoption process. “They knew the whole story of what it took, a lot of paperwork,” Maryann explains. So naturally, when Miss Zoe Ann Post finally came home, they couldn’t wait to meet her.

But after the excitement of their first night home, Maryann and Cap decided not to subject Zoe to any more excitement or over-stimulation – not for a while anyway.

After nearly a year had passed – and Zoe had settled into her new life – the Posts decided it was finally time to have a celebration. “It was time to plan her baptism, so I thought, well why don’t we make this a really big party – the party that we held off on having?” says Maryann.

By now, Zoe had become something of a local celebrity. Continue reading “SNAF Stories: It’s A Wonderful Life”

A Heartfelt Encounter in Cambodia

A Holt sponsor meets her sponsored child.  A Holt intern meets the children and families she set out to serve.

In the coming months, Oregon State University student Lauren Fletcher will shine the spotlight on our work in Cambodia, as she completes a three-month IE3 global internship with Holt partner organization Pathways to Development. Lauren, a human services major, just arrived in Phnom Penh.  And already, within her first few days, she accompanied Pathways staff on a journey to visit sponsored children in rural Takeo province.  Here, she also witnessed a truly extraordinary event — the meeting between a young woman named Corrine and the 12-year-old girl she helps support through Holt’s sponsorship program.

Corrine meets Srey Lam, the girl she sponsors through Holt.

Yesterday was a big day for me. Mr. Born, Mr. Chenda, a sponsor named Corrine and her sister and friend gathered at 7am for a journey to visit the child Corrine sponsors through Holt International. Corrine’s sister has been working in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for the last seven months.  When Corrine decided to travel from her home in Kentucky for a 10-day visit with her sister, she made sure to dedicate a full day to visit the child she began sponsoring this past summer.

The drive to the child’s home lasted about two hours, and concluded on a rough, hard-to-access road through rural Treng district.  Along the way, I saw many people planting rice. Born explained that local farmers will help one another to plant and harvest each other’s rice. To sell their produce, farmers keep bamboo stands alongside the road, where sellers sit and wait for customers in hammocks tied between the poles of the stands.

Once we arrived at our destination, Srey Lam* — the sponsored child — and her family walked up to greet us with hands traditionally placed palm-to-palm before their faces.  Because of the language barrier, we walked towards Srey Lam’s home in silence, but this did not inhibit communication between us. Everyone wore smiles on their faces, especially Srey Lam’s mother and father, while the younger siblings looked on with curiosity. Sitting in the shade of their home – an elevated hut – the thick, sweltering air of Takeo province almost felt bearable. A couple dozen people gathered around us, with gentle smiles gracing their faces.  We sat in the shade, happily sipping raw coconut juice directly from the coconut – through bendy straws inserted into their centers! Continue reading “A Heartfelt Encounter in Cambodia”

Be a Voice for Children!– Winter Jam Volunteers Share their Stories

As an adoptee, I felt like Winter Jam would be the perfect way to share my love for Holt, and my desire to help the agency I was adopted

Kim, a Holt adoptee, a her husband, Joe, volunteered at Winter Jam 2011 in Cleveland. Of her experience Kim says, "It was an amazing feeling to know that I was helping children in need."
from.  Anyone can volunteer; it’s so easy! My husband and I had such an uplifting experience.

Our best wishes go out to all the wonderful people who chose to sponsor a child.

We enjoyed a fantastic concert while making a difference in children’s lives! Joe and I were Winter Jam volunteer newbies. We met other volunteers and enjoyed their company, heard great music and listened to inspirational speakers. As we were leaving, the volunteers said to us: “See you next year!” We sure will! We will make volunteering at Winter Jam a family tradition! – Kim Domino, Winter Jam volunteer

“Last Saturday, we had the privilege of working at the Holt sponsorship table before, during and after the concert. Since this was only the second concert of 2011, there were a lot of children available for sponsorship. When I saw the children’s pictures on the table, I became overwhelmed thinking about the many little ones out there who were just waiting for someone to help them. Throughout the night, a lot of people came and picked up a child’s card. Some of them decided to sponsor a child, and some didn’t. Seeing vulnerable children’s cards being placed back down on the table was very difficult to watch. I would love to volunteer again, and I hope and pray that each concert brings people – and lots of them – who are willing to sponsor a child in desperate need of help.”Kathy Brown, volunteer at the Winter Jam concert in Charleston, West Virginia

Anastacia (right) volunteers at Winter Jam 2011 in DeKalb, Illinois. Find a concert near you! Go to https://www.holtinternational.org/winterjam.

Holt, thank you so much for the opportunity to volunteer and be a voice for children! At Winter Jam 2010, I heard the sponsorship message and personally took caring for children in need to a whole new level by becoming a sponsor myself! This year, I was able to see others make that same transformation through hearing the message and taking to heart what each and every person can do to make a difference in the life of a child! Caring for orphans and widows in their distress is God’s plan for us. Through sponsorship, making a difference is so easy! Thank you to Holt and Winter Jam for an awesome evening of praise and excitement! Being a Holt volunteer was a blast, and I’m looking forward to signing up again next year! —Anastacia Singleton, Holt sponsor and Winter Jam volunteer

In 2010, over 10,000 Winter Jam concertgoers said “YES” to sponsoring a child! This year, we’ve set our sights higher…Help us reach 15,000 sponsors – 300 at each concert! It’s easy and fun! Check to see if Winter Jam is coming to your town and sign up online. Email suep@holtinternational.org for more information. Rock the House with Holt and NewSong at Winter Jam 2011 – Raise Your Voice for Children!

Click here for more information…