The Philippines

Caring for orphaned and vulnerable children in the Philippines since 1976 through child sponsorship programs and donations

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Every year, sponsors and donors provide life-changing support for over 5,000 children and families in the Philippines.

Metro Manila is a massive, crowded city. In the city’s slum communities, it’s not uncommon for families of ten or more to live together in less than 200 square feet. Millions of Filipinos live in poverty, with many children showing up to school on empty stomachs. Limited jobs force parents to sometimes seek work in neighboring cities, leaving children vulnerable to neglect or exploitation. Stigma against unwed pregnancy also compels many women to relinquish their babies for adoption. But with the support of Holt sponsors and donors, struggling parents receive help to care for their children, and children growing up without families are able to join permanent, loving families through adoption.

Over 31% of children in the Philippines live in poverty

Holt sponsors and donors help cover the high cost of school supplies, uniforms and fees — easing the financial burden on families.

Thousands of children are growing up in institutional care

Holt donors help provide nurturing foster care and improve the quality of care provided at 25 different care centers in the Philippines.

Adoption from the Philippines: Children are waiting for families

Since 1976, Holt has helped find loving families in the U.S. for over 900 children from the Philippines.

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Help Children & Families in the Philippines

Many children in the Philippines are hungry, don’t have medical care and live in extreme poverty. As a result, struggling parents may relinquish their children to orphanage care. Your gift will help a child or family in the Philippines in greatest need.

Family Strengthening

Child sponsorship helps children and families thrive in the Philippines.

Families in the Philippines often struggle to meet basic needs, like food and school supplies for their children. Through education and nutrition programs, Holt sponsors and donors help parents provide for their children. Through parenting education classes, parents also gain the skills to help their children thrive!

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Officially, primary school education in the Philippines is free of charge. But at the beginning of every school year, families throughout the Philippines face anywhere between $75 to $200 in fees for their child to attend primary or secondary school. These include building fees, maintenance fees, teacher fees and other academic fees. Add to that the cost of books, uniforms and school supplies, and even some middle-income families struggle to cover the cost to send their children to school. For families living in poverty — especially families with multiple school-age children — the total cost to educate their children is often too steep to pay. As a result, many families — especially those living in rural areas — will choose to send just one child to school and keep their other children home to help work on the farm. 

In five provinces of the Philippines, Holt sponsors and donors help provide everything children need to stay in school through graduation — including books, supplies, uniforms and fees.

On a case-by-case basis, Holt donors also provide scholarships for high-performing students to attend college — empowering them to lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty for good.

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Early Childhood Care & Development

In vulnerable communities, early childhood care and development services are often critical to ensuring children have a strong, healthy start in life. In the Philippines, Holt sponsors and donors help provide home-based services to promote children’s healthy development within the first 1,000 days of birth. Through this pilot program led by our partner, Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF), children receive regular nutrition screening and support, parents gain skills and knowledge to help their children thrive, and social workers provide psychosocial counseling to families as needed. They also receive a daily nutritious lunch. 

In addition to building the caregiving capacity of parents and supporting the holistic development of children in their own homes, this program also aims to engage community leaders, volunteers, healthcare workers and partnering NGOs in promoting early childhood care and development services in vulnerable communities. Throughout the implementation of this program, KBF staff and partners will document the pilot experience with the goal of replicating and scaling up home-based services for children in communities across the Philippines.

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Nutrition & Health

Holt sponsors and donors help care for the nutrition and health of children in many programs in the Philippines. Children in our home-based early childhood care and development program receive nourishing meals as well as routine screenings to ensure they are growing at a healthy rate. Through our Independent Living & Educational Assistance (ILEA) program, teenagers who have aged out of institutional care live together in group homes and receive a monthly stipend for food as well as regular medical care. And through a special supplemental feeding program, malnourished children who live with their families receive 100 days of rehabilitative care, including nutritious meals every day while their parents learn skills to help them properly nourish and care for their children. 

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Parenting Education

Everywhere Holt works, sponsors and donors support efforts to promote positive, non-violent parenting practices and help children thrive in the love of their families. In the Philippines, our partner KBF holds parenting education classes in communities where children are at greater risk of abandonment, abuse and neglect.

With the support of sponsors and donors, parents learn and begin to practice positive discipline techniques. They learn about child development and milestones, how to engage in positive play with their children, health and nutrition, and how to locate and access community services and support.

This program helps to strengthen and foster positive, supportive relationships among family members, and increases social connections and support for families within the communities where Holt works. Most of all, it increases parents’ awareness and accountability in their child’s overall development and protects each child’s rights to survival, development, protection and participation.

Orphan & Vulnerable Children Care

Child sponsorship provides care for the most vulnerable children in the Philippines.

In the Philippines, a stigma against unwed mothers, poverty, and mental health and addiction issues cause many children to enter orphanage care. Through our partnerships, sponsors and donors help provide nurturing care for every child while they wait to rejoin their family or join an adoptive family.

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Foster Care

The one-on-one attention of a caregiver is absolutely essential to a child’s healthy growth and development. But children living in orphanages rarely receive this kind of attentive, nurturing care. To provide a more nurturing alternative for institutionalized children, Holt has through the years developed model foster care programs in many of the countries where we work. 

Today, Holt sponsors and donors continue to support foster care for children in the Philippines through our partner in Manila. As this program is so long established, children often stay in the care of foster families who have fostered upwards of 80-100 children over the course of 15-20 years.

KBF, our childcare partner, directly oversees the program and ensures foster parents receive thorough training in best childcare practices. With donor support, children receive holistic care including nutrition and medical services, and KBF social workers regularly visit the children to assess their development — ensuring they have everything they need to thrive while they wait to rejoin their birth family or join a family through adoption.

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Standards of Care

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Everywhere Holt works, we strive to elevate the standard of care provided to orphaned and vulnerable children. In the Philippines, sponsors and donors help provide support to children through age 12 who live in either private or government institutions. Some children have special needs. Every child receives the physical, emotional, nutritional and nurturing care and attention they need while our partner, KBF, helps develop a permanency plan for them. Everywhere Holt works, we strive to reunite children with their birth families before we consider in-country or international adoption. If that’s not possible, we work to unite them with a loving adoptive family.

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Family Reunification

Far too often, around the world, poverty separates children from their families. But at Holt, we believe that children should have every opportunity to grow up in the love and care of their family. Everywhere we work, we strive to reunite children living in orphanages with their birth families before we consider in-country or international adoption for them. In the Philippines, our local partner works to reunite children living in foster homes or childcare centers. Before children return home, social workers ensure their families are stable and equipped to care for them and can provide a safe home environment.

In recent years, our staff in the Philippines have helped an average of 20 children rejoin their families every year.

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Adoption in Birth Country

Everywhere Holt has adoption programs, our first priority is always to reunite children with their birth families whenever possible. When this is not possible, Holt seeks to place children in the loving care of a domestic adoptive family — giving every child the opportunity to grow up in the country and culture of their birth. Adoption was uncommon in the Philippines when Holt began advocating for local, in-country adoption in the 1970s. But today, more children in the Philippines join families in their birth country every year than they join families in the U.S. or other countries. Holt continues to support in-country adoption in the Philippines by providing the resources and support our partners need to complete homestudies and ensure a smooth, ethical process for both the child and their adoptive family. 

With the support of sponsors and donors, Holt’s social work team in the Philippines helps to develop a pool of approved adoptive families as a ready resource for placement of children who are legally eligible for adoption. They help to ensure timely case management of all adoption cases, and also develop the capacity of adoptive families in handling adoption-related issues. These efforts strengthen networking with partners at the national and local levels in promoting and advocating for legal adoption throughout the country. Every year, on average, KBF helps unite 10 children with loving adoptive families in the Philippines.

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Nutrition & Health

Around the world, malnutrition and hunger-related illnesses remain among the biggest threats to children growing up in poverty — especially children growing up in orphanages without the love and care of a family. This is especially true in the Philippines, where rates of malnutrition in children younger than age 5 remain among the highest in the world. In the Philippines, Holt’s nutrition interventions target orphaned and vulnerable children living at our partnering care centers and in foster families, as well as children in care at Holt sponsor- and donor-supported single mother’s shelters.

Through our child nutrition program (CNP), Holt trains caregivers to assess children’s health and identify nutrition and feeding interventions to ensure every child — especially those with special needs — are receiving the nourishment they need to thrive.

Caregivers continue to closely monitor and track the nutrition and growth of every child in care. And for children able to reunite with their families, their parents receive nutrition training before they return to their care.

Women at Holt-supported single mother’s shelters also receive pre- and post-natal care as well as nourishing food before and after delivery — ensuring the health of both mom and baby.

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Independent Living & Educational Assistance Program

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. They don’t have parents to guide them or support them while they find a job. They don’t have a college savings fund or anyone to help them apply for scholarships. They are completely on their own. In many places, children aging out of institutional care are at greater risk of being trafficked, exploited or getting involved with crime or drugs. 

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 13-15 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. The scholars encourage one another in their studies, and often share meals or spend time together doing social activities. The environment is loving and supportive — like a family — and the training helps teens transition to adulthood with a plan for the future.

International Adoption from the Philippines

Helping Children Join Loving, Permanent Families

Holt began finding adoptive families for children in the Philippines in 1976 and through the years has helped more than 1,000 Filipino children join loving, permanent families in the U.S. Today, Holt seeks families for children with special needs, sibling groups and older children who are waiting.

Sponsor a Child in Southeast Asia

Your monthly support will go toward food, clothing, education and more — helping a child in Southeast Asia thrive in the loving care of their family!