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Two girls stand in an alleyway in Cambodia

Learn about some of Holt’s top priorities for helping children as we head into the new year.

Everything has changed for children living in poverty over the past several years. The pandemic, pandemic-related shutdowns and global inflation have caused so many families to plummet farther backwards into poverty. Orphanages now have more children in care, but fewer resources to care for them with. And children are experiencing increased hunger, domestic violence and a slower return back to school.

But thanks to the generosity of Holt donors, our programs around the world have responded dynamically to address these changes — and will continue to do so in 2024. Below are some of the top threats to children right now, and how Holt programs will help meet these needs in the year ahead.

Food for Hungry Children

For families living in poverty, even a small increase in the cost of food can quickly become life-threatening. Food prices have skyrocketed in rural villages and urban areas alike — causing children to be thin and malnourished without enough food.

That’s why food and nutrition support is an essential component of almost every Holt program around the world, and will continue to be in 2024!

Three siblings smile outside in Ethiopia

For children and families experiencing critical hunger, Holt staff and partners make emergency food deliveries to immediately provide them with the food they need. And if children continue to be malnourished, many will go on to receive malnutrition rehabilitation or regular food deliveries until they are out of danger. 

Preschoolers sit on red plastic chairs laughing as they eat a snack

At Holt-supported daycares, preschools and schools, children receive free, nutritious snacks and breakfast or lunch every day. For many children, this is the only meal they can count on. That’s why our nutrition team specially formulates many of these snacks and meals — ensuring the food is full of energy-giving protein, filling whole grains and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.

Group of smiling people stands in front of a colorful mural
Holt staff at a nutrition program training in summer 2023.

In impoverished communities around the world, Holt’s nutrition program supports parents and orphanage staff as they care for children’s nutritional needs. Through caregiver trainings, meal planning, testing and tracking children’s nutritional statuses, and health interventions, children and families are overcoming malnutrition, growing healthy and even thriving!

Supplies & Caregivers for Children in Orphanages

In some of the most impoverished places, one heartbreaking consequence of increased poverty is a greater number of parents relinquishing their children to orphanages — in hopes that in an orphanage, their children will receive the food and basic care they need to survive.

But with more and more children being left in orphanages, the costs to care for them also increase. Food, medicine, clothing, additional staff… Everything costs more, and orphanages are struggling to care for the children.

That’s why the orphanage support Holt donors help provide is so important — and will continue to be in 2024.

Sponsored child Samuel in a school uniform in a classroom in Haiti

Samuel was coming from a hard situation when he moved from one orphanage to a different Holt-supported orphanage at age 7. He didn’t know how to read or write, and hadn’t received the nurturing care he needed. But with the support of Holt donors, Samuel has been well cared for by trained caregivers, and is thriving in his new home.

Medical Care for Children with Special Needs

Families and orphanages that lovingly care for children with special medical or developmental needs are facing extraordinary challenges. Cost increases now mean that surgeries, specialized care, food and medicine are unaffordable and out of reach.

But no child should suffer without the medical care they need to be healthy. That’s why providing medical care and therapies for children with special medical needs is such an important part of how Holt donors supported children last year — and will again in the year to come.

Sophea and her twin sister lived with their mother in rural Cambodia. But over time, it became clear that Sophea was very sick. They discovered she had a heart condition. But her family lived in poverty and couldn’t afford the heart surgery she needed. With the support of Holt Cambodia, Sophea was able to travel to a hospital in a big city where she received the lifesaving heart surgery she had been waiting for!

Arban, Mongolia, Molly Holt Fund

Arban has cerebral palsy and needed surgery in order to walk. But the life-changing surgery he needed was in India — an impossible distance and expense for a family living in poverty in Mongolia. Then generous Holt donors did the impossible for this special 8-year-old — helping him travel across the world for treatment. Today, Arban is able to walk, and his life is completely changed!

Sending Children to School

In many places, it’s not a “given” that a child gets to go to school. When poverty increases, a child’s education is often the first thing to go — and children drop out without finishing.

In places like India and Ethiopia, some girls are even forced to leave school and get married as young teenagers. Or in places like Cambodia and Thailand, child trafficking becomes a much larger risk the moment a child drops out of school.

That’s why helping children go to school — and stay in school — remains one of our top priorities for 2024.

Chivy’s two older brothers had to drop out of school and get jobs to help support the family. When he was in second grade, Chivy nearly dropped out of school, too. But then Holt sponsors and donors helped cover her tuition, and provided her with the school uniforms, backpack and other supplies she needed. Today, Chivy is thriving as she receives her education! 

Kids with backpacks in Cambodia

Around the world, thousands of children in Holt’s programs go to school each year — gaining the tools they need to overcome poverty someday!

Give Your Year-End Gift

Your tax-deductible gift by December 31 will help a child in greatest need. Give emergency food, orphanage caregivers and supplies, medical care or education!

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