Thoa Bui, Holt vice president of programs and services, shares about a girl in China who is growing up without parents — and how the monthly support of her sponsor is helping her grow up in the loving care of relatives.

In China, one of Holt’s biggest country programs, there are more than 6.4 million children growing up without parents. It’s common to see children left behind in rural villages when their birth parents pass away or migrate for work — or even after they divorce. These children are often left in the care of their grandparents, aunts or uncles who are already living in poverty and find it hard to support and care for another child. Because of these difficulties, this group of children who are already without birth parents face an even greater risk of separation from their birth families. Their grandparents or other relatives need a lot of support to be able to provide good care and meet the needs of these vulnerable children.

Chun, a girl in child sponsorship in China, hugs her Holt social worker
Chun hugs her Holt social worker during a visit at her aunt’s home.

Chun is one of the 6.4 million children who are growing up without parents in China.

When Chun was 8 years old, she lost both her mom and her dad to an accident relating to a high-voltage wire that electrocuted them when they were working in the rice field. She then moved to live with her aunt who already had three children. Life was already hard enough for her aunt, and she struggled to afford enough food and school supplies for Chun. But then in 2022, Chun was admitted into Holt China’s family strengthening program and matched with a sponsor!

Holt China worked closely with her aunt’s family to assess their needs and Chun’s needs. Since then, because of Chun’s sponsor, Holt’s team in China has been able to provide educational and nutritional support for Chun. This monthly sponsorship support has also alleviated the financial burden on Chun’s aunt and empowered her to continue caring for Chun so she can grow up with her family. Holt’s team in China also cooperated closely with Chun’s teachers around her educational plan to ensure her continuous education.

Since Chun was matched with a Holt sponsor and Holt China began working with her aunt and her teachers, everyone has noticed a big change in her.

Chun was very shy and nervous after losing her birth parents. But she has started to open up more, smile again and have hope for her future and education. Social workers on the Holt China team have continued to work with Chun to grow her confidence, and she now feels cared for and special.   

Around the world, Holt International prioritizes this kind of kinship care in our programing approach for children who have lost their birth parents. We have developed kinship care programs in China, India and Cambodia. When children are separated from or lose their birth parents, kinship care services allow them to continue to live with their loved extended family members — instead of in an institution.

Chun helps her aunt cook inside her home.

Through your monthly sponsorship, you make this kind of loving care possible for children growing up without their parents. Thank you for your sponsorship support to our children in China, and around the world, that allows children to continue to be living in a loving and safe family environment!

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