They Are Safe, Because of You

A few months ago, we shared with you the story of Thak Kan and his family in Cambodia.

Eleven-year-old Thak Kan and his family had trouble sleeping every time it rained where they live in rural Cambodia. The roof would leak. The house would flood in heavy rain. But what worried them the most were the poisonous snakes and scorpions that crawled through the holes in the walls of their house seeking dry shelter. Thak slept on the ground with his parents and three younger siblings. And he was scared of snake bites.

Thak Kan and his family stand in front of their old house, which had holes in the walls and floor that let in snakes and scorpions.
Thak Kan and his family stand in front of their old house, which had holes in the walls and floor that let in snakes and scorpions.

Thak Kan’s family was one of the poorest families in their village in rural Cambodia. They could hardly afford food, much less the materials to build a safer house. But when, on Giving Tuesday, we asked you to help build new safe homes for families living in dangerous conditions, you responded with overwhelming kindness and generosity.

You helped provide home repairs and new houses for some of the most vulnerable families living in some of the worst conditions — including for Thak Kan and his family!

Continue reading “They Are Safe, Because of You”

It’s Safe Here

While domestic violence has become a growing issue in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, only one shelter remains open for the dozens of women and children who seek refuge here every year. Earlier this year, with a loss in government funding, the shelter nearly closed it doors. 

Och* leans into her mom – making herself as physically close to her as possible.

Och is 4 years old, with shiny black, braided hair, a red striped dress and knee-high boots. She is shy of strangers, and whispers into her mom’s ear as she eats the sugar cube that came with her mom’s tea. Her mom, Bayarmaa*, is 29 and has the same dark shiny hair as her youngest daughter. It’s late morning on a Tuesday in May, and Och’s older sister — a third grader — is currently away at school.

But neither of Bayarmaa’s daughters like being away from their mom for long. And they never, ever want to be left alone.

Bayarmaa sits with her hands tucked between her knees, and her shoulders curved protectively inward.

“How are you feeling now?” we ask her.

Tears start forming in the corners of her eyes.

“The most important mission in my life,” she says, “is to raise my children safe, and to give them all the education they can get. I will support them in every way.” Continue reading “It’s Safe Here”

Ending Domestic Violence, One Neighborhood at a Time

For women and children at risk of abuse in India, Holt donor and sponsor-funded education programs are helping to prevent violence and help moms and children escape abuse. 

Raji, 12, stands outside the door to her home.

Even at night, when Raji’s father pulls the string switch to the single light bulb in their one-room house and her surroundings go dark, there is no privacy.

A single trickle of orange street light flickers in through a crack under her tin door, and with the faint glow of light, Raji can see her two brothers as they shuffle and roll on the floor next to her, trying to get comfortable. She can hear and see her parents as they climb into their iron-framed twin bed, settling into sleep. Continue reading “Ending Domestic Violence, One Neighborhood at a Time”

I Will Never Abandon You

How one woman in Vietnam used a small donor-funded investment to grow her business, build her confidence and create a safe and stable home for her grandson.

img_2989
Lai holds her grandson, Binh, in front of her food cart.

Lai wraps her tiny frame and arms around her shy, chubby grandson, Binh. She bounces him playfully, jutting her hip out to help support his weight. Her eyes are soft-hearted and sparkling, her face radiant with joy. She has the energy of someone half her age.

Behind Lai, an open garage door leads to the main room of her street-side apartment — a small and sparsely decorated space that empties onto a bustling sidewalk in Danang, Vietnam. Her sidewalk is set up like a small café — with little tables and chairs strategically filling the space. On the curb, Lai’s wheeled kitchen cart is filled with fruit and blenders, juice and straws — ready for customers. Continue reading “I Will Never Abandon You”

College professor or singer? Empower them to choose…

 

Facebook-ArtWhat do you want to be when you grow up?

“Maybe a professor in a college,” Parveen* says with casual confidence and a toothy grin.

Parveen is 15 and she lives at a boarding school for girls in Delhi. Both of her parents are uneducated, and they struggle to earn a living selling vegetables in this city where half a million people live on the streets — at least 300,000 of them children. Wanting their two daughters to have safe surroundings and to receive the education they never did, they enrolled Parveen and her sister at this Holt-supported boarding school in Delhi.

Here, Holt child sponsors support 80 girls, 5-17 years old, each with their own story.

Manesha
Manesha

Manesha* is a bit more reserved than Parveen. She would like to be a social worker, she says, speaking softly with a shy tilt of her head. When a tiger killed Manesha’s father on their farm, her mother got a job working as a maid and they moved to Delhi.

Sejal
Sejal

Sejal* is a tall girl in purple polka dots, also the daughter of a single mom. She wants to be a singer, and her friends convince her to show how well she can sing “Let it Go” from the Disney movie Frozen.

Sejal is exceptional.

Each and every one of these girls is exceptional.

And here, because of their sponsors — and because their families love them so much — these girls have everything they need to grow up safe and supported and to nurture their interests and passions. To have the confidence to think, ‘Oh maybe I’ll be a college professor. Or a singer.’

This year, for Giving Tuesday, we hope to raise $100,000 to support women and girls around the world — to provide educational scholarships for girls like Parveen and Sejal and Manesha, who are growing up in places where girls are often pulled out of school to work at a young age. We hope to provide more vocational training for women, to empower struggling single mothers with the resources they need to care for their children, and to fight injustice and abuse.

Because women are often the change-makers in their communities — and because every girl deserves to reach her full thriving potential — will you join us on December 1?

Thank you for your compassion and generosity. Together with you, we truly believe we can create hope and opportunity in the lives of girls and women.

* names changed

SSG Girls
Manesha, Parveen and Sejal stand with friends and housemates outside their boarding home in Delhi, India.

On December 1, Raise Your Voice!

Facebook-ArtMark your calendar — Giving Tuesday is only five weeks away!

Intended to celebrate the season of giving by putting charities in the spotlight, Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to tell your friends and family about Holt International.

On December 1, we are raising money to support women and girls around the world — the population hit the hardest by poverty, discrimination and violence, but also the most likely to create sweeping social and economic change in their communities.

On Giving Tuesday, we hope to raise $100,000 to provide educational scholarships for girls and vocational training for women, empower struggling single mothers with the resources they need to care for their children, and fight injustice and abuse by providing services to women and children who’ve endured violence or exploitation. Donations will also support pre- and post-natal healthcare for women, free daycare projects — so working moms can have safe childcare — and other community-based education programs that teach boys and girls how to prevent sexual violence.

Wow. Talk about one day with a lasting impact.

We are counting down to December 1, and we hope you are, too.

Keep an eye on your email inbox and prepare to raise your voice on social media!

Today, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! We will share more about Giving Tuesday in the days ahead.

Gifts of Hope

Can you put a price tag on Hope? Can you calculate the worth of something so abstract?

The worth of something is, after all, relative — it changes from place to place, person to person, currency to currency. Hope is relative too, and looks different for everyone.

By definition, hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

The expectation that something is about to change.

Something is about to get better.

Hope is also a feeling — a very powerful one — that drives us to continue to push through hard situations, eager to find the light in the darkness.

Continue reading “Gifts of Hope”