Around the Globe

New Holt Sponsorship Initiatives & Country Program Updates


Because of your support, Holt’s staff in Uganda is leading a program that will directly empower more than 1,500 families and children to improve their health, nutrition, food security, education and economic wellbeing. The Safe and Stable Homes (SASH) project will focus on preschool-age children and their families. Holt Uganda completed renovations to an early-childhood education center in rural Wakiso district that will serve as the hub for the program. A total of 131 children, ages 3-5, are now receiving consistent nutrition and a critical preschool education at the center. Another 200 children and their families have been identified to participate in the SASH program. “This intervention will contribute not only to addressing survival, development and growth of children and families in Kampala and Wakiso,” Lydia Nyesigomwe, Holt’s country representative in Uganda, says of SASH, “but also contribute towards Uganda’s broader national progress.”



In early October 2016, a category-5 cyclone dubbed “Hurricane Matthew” ravaged the southern coast of Haiti. After losing all internet communications with our staff in Port-au-Prince for two days, we finally received a very brief email from our Haiti country director: “Lots damaged. I am in tears. We need donations and volunteers.” In the aftermath of the hurricane, we felt relieved to hear that the children and families in our programs were safe. But the destruction to homes and orphanages left them more vulnerable than ever, and immediately, Holt supporters began sending donations — raising over $40,000 to help repair the damage. On Christmas Eve, Holt staff in Haiti headed south, working through Christmas to repair the roof of a school building and care center home to 72 children. With homes damaged, small businesses flooded and crops destroyed, several of the single mothers and children in our women’s empowerment and sponsorship program also received roof repairs and support to rebuild their lives. Our staff used remaining funds to replenish food sources for both the families and care centers — providing seeds to grow new crops and goats to replace lost livestock. “If not for Holt donors, these children and families would have received no assistance to rebuild their lives,” says Mike Noah, Holt’s director of services for Africa and Haiti. “They don’t know what they would have done without it.”



In rural villages near Bangalore, India, drought has caused a domino effect in the lives of the subsistence-farming families that reside here. The first domino falls when the country’s annual monsoon rains fail to come — causing widespread crop failure. And when crops fail, men will often leave their families behind to find work in the city. Women then become the sole provider for their children, but without the means to support them, they often feel compelled to send their children to live with a relative or in orphanage care. “Farming and agricultural labor are the main occupation of the village, but due to repeated droughts, the income from agriculture is diminishing,” explains Bhumika Tulalwar, Holt’s India program manager. “Single women-headed households have to face more hardships.” Through a new initiative, Holt aims to keep children in the safe and loving care of their mothers, and equip the women with the tools and resources they need to help their children thrive. With the support of sponsors, 22 single mothers or women from low-income families have now received goats or microloans to grow their income as well as skills trainings on how to raise their animals and save their income. Forty children will ultimately benefit from this program — empowering them to remain with their families, continue their education and reduce their risk of migration or child labor.



Far too often in the countries where Holt works, struggling families are forced to make difficult decisions to meet their child’s basic needs. Without a social safety net like we have in the U.S., many parents take the last resort — relinquishing their child to orphanage care. But through research and collaboration, Holt is now working to create a service model that keeps children out of institutions and with their families. In January 2016, Holt received a generous grant from the GHR Foundation to implement the Building Bridges to Families program in Cambodia’s Battambang province. With this grant, Holt is working with an orphanage to build their social work capacity and case management system and help find the birth families of children in care. “The best place for children to grow up is their birth families,” explains Thoa Bui, Holt’s senior executive for South & SE Asia programs. “Yet, many families have no choice but to place their children in orphanages to seek education, shelter, food or temporary care. Our job, as a child welfare organization, is to educate the public about the harmful effects of institutionalization, while providing needed support to reunify children with their families.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.