Realizing Her Potential

Widowed at 38, and supporting six children, Sao Yien struggled to make ends meet. But when she received a Gift of Hope to build a small business, she realized how strong and independent she truly could be.

Thoa Bui (left), Holt’s vice president of programs in South and S.E. Asia, hugs Sao Yien as she cries on her shoulder during their recent visit.

When Sao Yien said goodbye to Thoa, she buried her head in Thoa’s shoulder and cried. She didn’t say anything. She just cried. And so did Thoa.

Thoa Bui is Holt’s vice president of programs in South and Southeast Asia. Sao Yien is a woman in our family strengthening program in Battambang, Cambodia. A widow, Sao is the sole support for seven members of her family, including her own child, her sister’s five children and her 90-year-old grandmother. Until two years ago, when Holt’s social work team in Cambodia began working with Sao, she and her family were living in extreme poverty.

“At that moment before we parted,” Thoa says, “she was crying — and I was crying too to be honest — and I said I have a lot of feelings because I totally understand what you have gone through, and I understand the burden of responsibility that you continue to carry for these children and your family.” Continue reading “Realizing Her Potential”

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.

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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”

Happy, Healthy and Dry

Six-year-old Sokha and his family live in the most impoverished region of Cambodia where many families are forced to migrate or make their children work to earn extra income. But now, with help from Holt and the Child and Life Association, they have hope. Equipped with resources, education and support, Sokha and his family can now escape poverty and transform their future.

When it rains in rural Cambodia, 6-year-old Sokha* and his family have little hope of staying dry. The wind and water easily make it through the palm leaf walls and deteriorating steel roof of their small home. They do their best to dodge the drips and drops, but eventually end up drenched.

Continue reading “Happy, Healthy and Dry”