Domestic Violence in Mongolia During COVID-19: One Mother’s Story

Bolormaa and her children live in a traditional Mongolian ger like the one pictured here.

In late March, Bolormaa* arrived at one of the domestic violence shelters Holt donors support in Mongolia. She had three young children with her.

While Bolormaa had suffered abuse from her husband throughout their marriage, after the latest incident, she had the courage to reach out to a social worker in her community for help. The social worker immediately found a place for her and her children at the shelter. Continue reading “Domestic Violence in Mongolia During COVID-19: One Mother’s Story”

Domestic Violence Cases Spike During COVID-19: How You Can Help

A home in the impoverished "ger" district of Ulaanbaatar, where many Holt-sponsored children and families live.
A home in the impoverished “ger” district of Ulaanbaatar, where many Holt-sponsored children and families live.

When COVID-19 hit Mongolia earlier this year, the government responded immediately — closing schools and businesses, and introducing quarantine measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Shortly afterward, local domestic violence shelters began experiencing an increased demand for services — especially in the communities where sponsors and donors support children. Continue reading “Domestic Violence Cases Spike During COVID-19: How You Can Help”

A Bottle of Hand Sanitizer, Hope for the School Year

Yargui almost couldn’t return to school because of the additional costs for a mask, hand sanitizer and other school-in-a-pandemic essentials. But thankfully, Holt donors didn’t let these additional costs stand in her way.

On September 1, Yargui and her classmates returned for in-person school in Ulaanbaatar. But she almost couldn’t go. All because of a bottle of hand sanitizer.

This year, children around the world need more supplies than ever in order to attend school. In addition to all the regular items like paper, pencils, uniforms and books, most children also have to provide their own mask and hand sanitizer. Such is the case in Mongolia, where the government requires that every student has their own bottle of sanitizer for school. Continue reading “A Bottle of Hand Sanitizer, Hope for the School Year”

More Than Nutrition: Holt’s CNP Team Helps One Girl With FASD

It’s always heartbreaking when children have been exposed to drugs or alcohol. But Holt’s child nutrition program can help improve the health and nutrition of these children. And for one little girl with FASD in Mongolia, the program has had a huge impact on her life.   

Altansarnai entered into care at of one of Holt’s partnering care centers in Mongolia shortly after being born. Nothing was known about her family or prenatal circumstances. She was small and very sick. Although the staff provided care for her sickness and appropriate formula for her age, they still noted that over time her development seemed to be slow and delayed. She seemed behind her peers in physical growth, was often fussy, and had difficulty calming herself down. Continue reading “More Than Nutrition: Holt’s CNP Team Helps One Girl With FASD”

The Children We Sponsor Are Real

For Jerrod and Melissa Adair, meeting their sponsored child in Mongolia was not just a blessing. It was a dream come true.

Jerrod and Melissa with her sponsored child, her sponsored child's twin sister, mom and Holt staff members in Ulaanbaatar.
Jerrod and Melissa with her sponsored child, her sponsored child’s twin sister, mom and Holt staff members in Ulaanbaatar.

Jerrod and Melissa Adair stood on a street corner in front of a large shopping mall in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. They had traveled nearly 6,500 miles from their home in Oklahoma, and now waited in anticipation with toys in their arms. When they turned the corner, they recognized them immediately. 

“One was dressed in a beautiful red dress, and as I turned the corner, I saw they’re twins,” Jerrod says. “A double blessing!”

Each holding onto their mom’s hand, the twin sisters walked toward them in matching frilly red dresses, striped tights and white sandals. For over a year, Jerrod and Melissa had read about, and prayed for, these girls and their family. But in that time, they had developed a special connection with one girl in particular — Narantuya, their sponsored child. 

Continue reading “The Children We Sponsor Are Real”

Never Their Fault

When a team of Holt donors travels to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to build homes for four of the most vulnerable families in the poorest district of the city, something so unexpected happens — so stunning and so moving — they decide on the spot to build one more.

Amin-Erdene kneels down to zip up her little cousin’s vest — a shiny, hot pink, sleeveless thing that looks far too flimsy for the weather. It’s early spring in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a high desert region where the temperature can swing dramatically from both season to season and day to day. Yesterday, it reached the high 70s. Today, it’s in the low 30s, but feels even colder — a face-numbing, paralyzing cold that makes you want to curl into yourself like a potato bug.

Amin-Erdene zips up her cousin's vest on a 30-degree day in Ulaanbaatar.
Amin-Erdene zips up her cousin’s vest on a 30-degree day in Ulaanbaatar. They live next door to each other in the ger district of Mongolia.

But 7-year-old Amin-Erdene and her cousins seem unfazed.

In a country where in the depths of winter the temperature can drop 40 degrees below zero, this is nothing. Amin-Erdene blankets a heavy coat over her little cousin, who sits in an old car seat outside the crowded ger where they’ve been living. Her feet poke out of the coat, in socks and white-heeled dress shoes that make me think of something our local partner said — how parents will often keep their kids home from school in winter because they’re worried about frostbite, and they can’t afford warm shoes. Amin-Erdene’s older brother picks up another little cousin and snuggles her close to him, kissing her on the cheek. Continue reading “Never Their Fault”

Looking to the Sky

After a stroke left her paralyzed, one single mother in Mongolia considered taking her own life. But empowered by the support of Holt sponsors, she regained hope — and her children regained the courageous woman they call mom.

The year 2010 was an especially brutal year in Mongolia. A devastating summer drought followed by an extreme winter — a weather phenomenon known as dzud — wiped out millions of livestock and affected the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of already struggling families. While distressing for the population, this pendulum of weather is nothing new for Mongolia, where winter temperatures can plummet to as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit, and summers are often short but very humid.

But the 2009-2010 season was unusual in Mongolia. The winters were much colder, and the summers were much hotter.with-family-grandmother

Continue reading “Looking to the Sky”

A Book Brings Endless Opportunities

literacy-day-header_600x630Reading can take children anywhere. In the pages of a book, they can travel the world and take part in a grand adventure. Even better, reading can take a child places in their real life, too.

Today is International Literacy Day, a day when we celebrate and promote the importance of literacy.

Even today, 114 million youth around the world are illiterate — 59 percent of them girls and young women. Literacy is the foundation of education, and with an education, children can pursue their dreams and overcome poverty in their communities.

Through Holt’s educational programs, vulnerable children learn to read, write and gain other fundamental skills. As one of our most recent projects, we helped open a library for children in Mongolia.literacy-day-mongolia_600x340

But children need more than just books to learn to read and write. They need pencils and pens and notebooks and paper — supplies that many families struggle to provide.

With the gift of school supplies, you can promote literacy and education in impoverished communities in Mongolia and around the world.

Give today! 

When children can read, they are empowered to go places — both in their imagination, and in life.

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