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Social workers in Vietnam receive awards for Social Work Day.

Recent program updates from Holt-supported family strengthening and orphan care programs around the world!

Children living in an orphanage in China attend a free clinic provided by local doctors.

China 

In China, Holt sponsors and donors support Peace House, a medical foster home inside an orphanage that provides critically needed care for children receiving life-changing surgeries or medical procedures. At Peace House, each child is matched with a medically trained caregiver who provides one-on-one, round-the-clock care. The care children receive at Peace House helps them grow strong enough for surgery. Post surgery, they return to Peace House to recover and heal, and many children ultimately go on to join adoptive families in China or the U.S. Recently, our Peace House project manager in China connected with ten doctors from the Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU) to provide free clinics for 98 children at the Peace House orphanage.

As a local Holt partner, BJU has been supporting Peace House (PH) for over a decade, providing medical advice, check-ups and more for children in the orphanage where Peace House is located. During the most recent clinic, in early March, 10 pediatric and surgical doctors traveled to the orphanage to provide health screenings for the children, including all the children at the Peace House. “Since these doctors are experienced and professional, some children were diagnosed with special needs which were not found before,” shares our team in China. “In the future, BJU plans to assign a team of veteran dentists to the orphanage for further medical check. They also plan to deepen cooperations with the orphanage in the way of children’s surgeries and financial support.” 

A family in Holt's family strengthening program in Ethiopia
A family in Holt’s family strengthening program in southern Ethiopia.

Ethiopia 

In the rural southern region where sponsors and donors support families in Ethiopia, 40 percent of the population lives in poverty and 29 percent lives in extreme poverty — earning less than one dollar per day. Here, Holt works alongside a local partner to provide the tools and resources families need to regain their stability, build self-reliance and independently support their children.  

With a majority of families relying on subsistence farming for food and income, sponsors and donors provide livestock to help them grow their income and seek greater stability in their lives. Families also receive seeds to improve their nutrition, provide greater food security and limit their household expenses. Families without land receive equipment and funds to start a small business. Our local partner also provides financial training to help families learn to save their income and also organizes savings and loan groups with other families in the community — empowering them to pool and invest their income and borrow for large expenses. Recently, 45 households who encountered challenges on their respective income-generation activities received additional seed money to help them grow their income — and continue working toward stability and self-reliance!

A graduation ceremony for preschool children in Bangalore, India.

India 

In Bangalore, India, Holt sponsors and donors help support a daycare program through our local partner, Vathsalya Charitable Trust (VCT), that provides a safe place for children of migrant workers to go during the day. The daycare is free for these families, providing children with a nourishing lunch and a critical early education, while they gain skills needed to transition to a more formal school setting. The migrant daycare program also helps prevent families from separating from one another due to the stresses of rural-to-urban migration.  Recently, VCT held graduation ceremonies to celebrate their young learners’ academic milestones. Attended by parents, children and esteemed guests, these events showcased VCT’s commitment to holistic development within the community. 

“Graduation day at Vathsalya School evoked a range of emotions from all generations. A parent expressed, ‘Vathsalya is a school not just for my child, but for me, too. Today makes me realize the bond we share and the inevitable parting it brings.'” 

The Holt Vietnam Team
Little girl in school uniform smiles with school lunch.
A girl in Mongolia holds a hot lunch provided with the support of Holt sponsors and donors.

Mongolia 

While public education is free in Mongolia, economic pressures and the need to help support the family, lack of resources and required documentation, poor health and harsh weather often keep children from attending school. But with the support of Holt sponsors and donors, over 200 children living in impoverished communities in Mongolia are able to continue their education. Resources provided include school supplies and social work support from Holt Mongolia staff who track their progress and work with their families to encourage them to stay in school.

Last October, Holt Mongolia began a hot meal program for 40 at-risk elementary school students. With better nutrition for the children, our local team hoped to not only improve the students’ overall health and wellbeing, but also increase the students’ learning outcomes during the cold winter season. As a result of the hot meal program — along with warm clothes provided by Holt sponsors and donors — these students are making noticeable progress in their schoolwork. 

ILEA scholars joke and laugh in the stairwell at ILEA House
ILEA scholars laugh together in the hallway of the Holt-supported ILEA house in the Philippines.

Philippines 

When children living in orphanages reach 18 and age out of institutional care, they often find themselves on their own without any support or resources. In the Philippines, sponsors and donors support a unique program that helps these aged-out young adults gain the skills they need to live successfully on their own. Through Holt’s Independent Living and Educational Assistance (ILEA) program, a group of teens and young adults live together in a house or dorm-like setting. They receive funding to pay for their education or vocational training and they also have a house parent who teaches skills like cooking, cleaning and paying bills. 

Recently, the ILEA scholars participated in a youth camp where they enjoyed two days full of activities and engagement with youth from various communities. The camp offered a range of fun-filled outdoor activities and spiritual discussions, leaving a positive impact on the ILEA scholars when they returned home.   

Girl in Uganda in blue school uniform
A schoolgirl in Uganda smiles in her uniform.

Uganda 

A pillar of Holt’s work in Uganda is early childhood care and development. In many parts of Uganda, children under age 8 are still considered too young to attend school and go without any formal preparation for primary education. In many rural communities, the nearest preschool is also often too far to walk and few families can afford the fees for their child to attend. As a result, young children often go to work with their parents or stay at home without proper supervision. They also miss out on a critical early education. That’s why, in rural villages, Holt sponsors and donors support children ages 3 and up to attend early childhood education centers.

Holt staff in Uganda provide teacher trainings and developmentally enriching materials such as sensory-based teaching aids and learning materials, indoor and outdoor play equipment to promote physical and cognitive development, child-size chairs/desks and nutritious meals to support engagement in learning. Right now, Holt Uganda is also in the process of making school uniforms for 904 children in these early childhood education programs — ensuring all students will have uniforms to wear to school.  

Holt Vietnam social workers receiving awards at a celebration for Social Work Day.

Vietnam 

Holt started working in Vietnam in 1973 — first serving families and children here through a USAID-funded nutrition program, later developing an international adoption program to help find permanent homes for the approximately 25,000 children living in Vietnam’s orphanages after the Vietnam War. Through the years, Holt’s team in Vietnam has helped standardize international adoption in Vietnam and develop programs throughout the country that enable children to stay within their birth families, despite hardships.

Recently, Holt Vietnam was invited to attend Social Work Day celebrations alongside other child welfare agencies in various provinces. The social worker staff received awards during these celebrations for their outstanding work. 

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