Why we don’t give your $39 monthly sponsorship donation directly to your sponsored child’s family or caregivers, and how Holt uses your money to help your sponsored child instead.
Every month, you faithfully send your $39 to your sponsored child .… Sort of.
Technically, you send your gift to Holt International, trusting that we will properly steward your money and direct it to your sponsored child. While we do on occasion give cash directly to families to meet immediate identified needs, we don’t actually give your sponsored child and his or her family $39 in cash or check each month.
Why, you ask? Wouldn’t our sponsorship program be just as effective if we simply wrote a check each month?
Well, that’s a great question, and it is one that our sponsorship team often hears.
Empowering Families to Become Self-Reliant
There are many reasons why Holt doesn’t give a monthly check to the children and families in our programs. But the biggest reason is that we care deeply about those we serve and we want every mother, father and child in our programs to be successful. Remember, Holt’s ultimate goal is to ensure that every child can grow and thrive in a permanent, loving family. But while our goal for every child is the same, the way we work toward that goal is different for every child.
Very generally, we use your $39 to give your sponsored child educational opportunities, nutrition-rich food, warm clothing, medical care and the love of a family. However, in practice, it’s much more individually tailored than that — and has a much bigger impact on your sponsored child’s future.
For most of the children in our sponsorship program, we work to help them stay in their birth families. Many children are at risk of separation from their families due to poverty, family illness or other hardships.
With your support, we help stabilize families — and prevent children from ending up in orphanages — by providing basic necessities like school fees, medical care, nutritional assistance or vocational training for parents. Some families need all of this support. Others need less. But ultimately, we aim to help families stand on their own feet, which means our on-the-ground social workers meet with each family to create a holistic plan for achieving both self-reliance and lasting stability.
Each family is different, and each family faces different challenges. But one strategy we have found works for all families is helping them gain skills and access resources that will empower them over the long term.
While giving a family $39 each month may seem like a fast and easy way to help them solve problems related to poverty or illness, it could actually cause the family to become reliant on Holt. Rather than learning, growing and working toward a stable future — gaining job skills, earning income from animal raising, etc. — families could grow dependent on a monthly check. We’ve found that teaching families to provide for themselves is far more empowering and effective in the long term.
Often, families grow and learn so much in our program that they continue to teach and mentor other families in their community for years to come — sometimes starting or participating in community savings groups, local microlending systems or other networking groups. There is no way that a $39 financial boost each month can provide that kind of empowerment.
Also, because Holt partners with schools, physicians, social welfare centers and more, we are often able to offer services at a lower cost than if families sought them independently. Or we partner with multiple funding agencies to provide these services.
Rather than pay school fees upfront, our educational partnerships allow more children to receive a better education at a lower cost since educational or medical programs are often funded by multiple sources. In this way, sponsorship maximizes your gift, helping to serve not only your sponsored child, but entire families and communities. In this way, your sponsorship dollars not only meet your sponsored child’s needs, but the needs of many children.
A Global Network of Support
While most of the children in sponsorship live with their birth families, we also care for children in foster homes or orphanages. While we strive to reunite children with their birth families whenever possible, for some children it’s not in their best interest to reunite with their family — and in some cases, they are true orphans. Holt sponsors help to ensure these children receive the highest level of care while they wait for a permanent, loving family in their country of birth or in the United States.
Often, the cost of this type of care is higher than $39 per month, and these children may have more than one sponsor. Or, because they live in foster families, group homes or child care centers funded by Holt and other partners, we are able to balance costs. Holt works with multiple partner agencies to provide foster and group home care, including many governments, so funding can also come through a variety of sources. Ultimately, pooling that money helps Holt serve many, many more children. And it allows us to bring more children into our programs even before they have a sponsor.
As a sponsor, your support is absolutely vital to ensuring your sponsored child has what they need to grow and thrive. You also represent a critical piece of a very big puzzle. You are part of a complex network of supporters all around the world — all working together to create lasting and meaningful change in the lives of children in greatest need.
We can’t thank you enough for what you do!
Billie Loewen | Former Holt Team Member