A girl in Uganda poses with a baby calf

Growing up in poverty, Akiki has had to go without many things in her young life. But now she knows what it’s like to live with certain things. Things that make her life better. And this is all thanks to her Holt sponsor who gave her and her family Gifts of Hope.                                   

Akiki knows what it’s like to go without. She’s lived without enough food, without blankets for her bed, without school supplies and more. At a very young age, she even had to adjust to life without her parents.

When her parents separated, Akiki and her sister went to live with their grandmother. Their grandmother loved them, but she was elderly and her livelihood and food came from what she grew in her garden — and it didn’t give her nearly enough to feed and support her granddaughters. She didn’t even have enough income to send them to school. So she sent them to live with their father, who by this time had remarried.

Thankfully, the girls’ father and new stepmother were kind to them — taking them in and providing them with everything they could. And here, living in this new community they learned about Holt sponsorship.

A girl in uganda smiles at her school

When Akiki entered Holt’s sponsorship program and was matched with a Holt sponsor, her whole life changed. She and her sister received school supplies, uniforms, nutritious daily snacks and even regular vitamins and deworming medication at Holt Uganda’s Child Health Days.

Children’s Needs Met Through Holt Sponsorship

But like all children when they first enter our programs, Akiki and her family still lived in poverty. While sponsorship covered all of her basic needs of food, education and more, she and her family still went without certain things. Her clothes were getting too small and she had holes in her socks, she shared a blanket with her sister at night, and she very much relied on the food she received at school, since there wasn’t always enough to fill her tummy at home.

But last summer, Akiki’s sponsor decided to give an above-and-beyond gift. She gave Gifts of Hope that helped fill in the spaces where Akiki went without.

Akiki’s Sponsor Gave Gifts of Hope

When Akiki’s sponsor, Sandra, decided she wanted to go above and beyond for her sponsored child, she gave in faith, without even knowing how her gift would be used. All she knew was that she wanted to bless Akiki and her family in a big way.

“The additional gifts were sent because of our love and care for children in distress,” Sandra says. “Our hope for the family is they will have a better life.”

So Sandra tacked extra funds onto her monthly sponsorship gift. And when our team in Uganda received this gift, they knew exactly how to use it to best help Akiki.   

It was one Monday last summer, Akiki remembers, that she received these gifts from her sponsor. All at once, Akiki was gifted everything she needed: new clothes, a mattress and blankets, new shoes, a school bag, and her favorite gift of all — a cow!

A girl in Uganda poses with a baby calf

A Cow, and Other Gifts to Overcome Poverty

Akiki and her family were overjoyed by these gifts. In an enthusiastic report back to her sponsor, Akiki shared how she was especially thankful for her cow!

“I received a gift of a calf, a new addition to my family,” Akiki says. “Sometimes I take time to play with the calf and I cannot wait for it to grow into a big cow and give us milk and other baby calves. With plenty of milk, I hope to make more money that will keep me and my siblings in school.”

Akiki’s father and stepmother’s house doesn’t have enough space for cow, so it’s being raised by her grandfather — who is making sure all the benefits of the cow come back to his grandchildren. Not only will their calf soon be able to provide nutritious milk to Akiki and her family, but any extra milk or calves they sell will provide income to help them purchase regular food, clothing and things the girls need for school.

A girl and her grandfather pose with a calf
Akiki and her grandfather with their cow.

Holt Uganda staff referred to the young cow as “good looking” — a testament to how well Akiki’s family is taking care of it. Every day they feed their cow fresh grass, matooke peels and plenty of water. They also use the cow’s manure in their garden, which has boosted their crop production. Their cow has given them so much hope for the future.

“I received a gift of a calf, a new addition to my family. Sometimes I take time to play with the calf and I cannot wait for it to grow into a big cow and give us milk and other baby calves. With plenty of milk, I hope to make more money that will keep me and my siblings in school.”

Akiki, Holt sponsored child in Uganda

While the cow was the most exciting part of the gift for Akiki, the other items are just as lifechanging. Her new clothes will fit her for months or even years to come, and she’s no longer cold at night with her new mattress and blankets. All of these gifts from her sponsor have blessed her, and are even inspiring her to do well in school.

“Every time I sleep on my new mattress with new bed sheets, I feel so happy,” Akiki says. “Daily I wake up so confident to go to school.”

Holt Sponsorship & Gifts of Hope Bless Children

Every day, Holt sponsors go above and beyond for their sponsored children, helping to fill in the gaps left by poverty. Sponsors provide nutritious daily food, clothing, medical care, educational support, school supplies and more — all gifts that help families overcome poverty, preventing family separation. Some sponsors, like Sandra, decide to help even more through Gifts of Hope or other special designated gifts to their sponsored children. And for the children on the receiving end of these gifts and faithful support, life is never the same. And like Akiki, they are so thankful.

“May God bless my sponsor and give her whatever she wants for her family,” Akiki says. “I love her and thank God for her!”

Little girl holding a baby chick

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