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Every year, sponsors and donors provide life-changing support for nearly 10,000 children and families in Thailand.
Despite widespread economic growth over the past decade, over 6 million children and families in Thailand still experience poverty. Many of the families excluded from the country’s growing prosperity are migrants, minorities, refugees, single-parent families and families impacted by HIV. While some live in or near Bangkok, many of Thailand’s most vulnerable children live in rural areas. Holt sponsors and donors empower these vulnerable families with the resources and support they need to stay together. For children growing up without their families, we strive to reunite them with their loved ones or find permanent, loving families for them via adoption.
More than 15 million children are deprived of basic needs
Holt sponsors and donors help provide holistic care for children, meeting basic education, health and nutrition needs.
Children need one-on-one attention to thrive
In Holt-trained foster families, children receive the nurturing, attentive care that’s critical to their development.
Adoption from Thailand: Children are waiting for loving families
Through the years, Holt has helped more than 800 children from Thailand join loving, permanent families in the U.S.
Help Children & Families in Thailand
Many children and families in Thailand are migrants, minorities, refugees, single-parent families or families impacted by HIV. Families struggle to provide food, medical care and education for their children. Your gift will help a child or family in Thailand in greatest need.
Child sponsorship helps children and families thrive in Thailand.
In Thailand, families living in poverty face many challenges. Educational costs are high and families also struggle to afford nourishing food and healthcare. Sponsors and donors empower parents to independently provide for their children and holistically meet their family’s needs.
In Thailand, families living in poverty face many hurdles to providing a basic education for their children. These include a high cost of tuition, school supplies and the requirement that children have three different school uniforms — one for everyday wear, one for physical education and one that is cultural. As a result, many parents living in the communities where Holt works in Thailand have not completed their own education. Few have finished grade school, especially in rural areas. For that reason, some parents don’t see the value in sending their children to school, especially their daughters.
Through Holt’s local partner, Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF), parents are counseled on the importance of a formal education for their children. Holt sponsors and donors help cover the cost of tuition, supplies and uniforms — helping children overcome the hurdles they face, starting in preschool and sometimes continuing on to higher education at a university. In the communities where HSF works, sponsors and donors also support library and educational resources for children and families. In addition, HSF offers an informal curriculum in schools, which aims to promote an interest in and commitment to school and equips children with self-care and self-protection skills. HSF also organizes special interest groups children can join, such as a book club, art group or group for teens.
Across Thailand, government development initiatives have led to manufacturing jobs, replacing traditional sources of income such as rice farming. As a result, many rural families struggle to adapt to a changing economy and find themselves without sustainable work or income.
Throughout Bangkok and southern Thailand, Holt’s local partner, HSF, helps these struggling families gain the skills they need to earn an income. With the support of sponsors and donors, they can receive training in a specific job skill or a gift of livestock to help them start a small business. For many families in Thailand, livestock is an invaluable commodity. Chickens and ducks are most commonly raised among families in Thailand, providing protein-rich eggs and meat for growing children. Some families also raise fish, most commonly catfish, first in small concrete tubs and then in ponds on their property once the fish are grown. Extra eggs, chicks and fish can be sold to neighbors or at the market for a profit. Children often take care of the animals — giving them a chore that is not only fun, but also teaches responsibility.
In struggling communities, our partner HSF also initiates “trust savings groups” to help families achieve financial stability.
In Thailand, sponsors and donors also support a unique program to encourage and equip families with skills to grow their own food in organic gardens. Organically grown fruits and vegetables provide children with the vital nutrients they need, and families save money that they would have otherwise spent at the market. Families have found that a thriving garden can cut their food expenses by 40 percent! Gardening empowers families in Thailand to improve their health, earn an income and achieve greater self-reliance.
Nutrition & Health
In the communities Holt serves in Thailand, sponsors and donors help provide nourishing food and medical care for many children and families. Children in educational sponsorship receive training on health and hygiene at school. Mothers facing unplanned pregnancy receive comprehensive pre- and post-natal care. And struggling families receive food assistance as needed.
One unique aspect of Holt’s nutrition and health program in Thailand is the nutritional support sponsors and donors help provide for newborn infants. In impoverished communities, many mothers find it difficult or impossible to breastfeed — often because they have to work to provide for their families or are overcoming malnutrition themselves. These mothers are supported with resources to successfully breastfeed. Or if breastfeeding is still not possible, they receive monthly supplies of high-quality, nutrient-dense infant formula to ensure infants and toddlers receive the vital nutrition they need at this critical time of growth and development. For so many families, breastfeeding support or formula prevents them from feeding their child unhealthy substitutes like sweetened condensed milk, which can mean the difference between an overweight or stunted child and a child who is both healthy and developmentally on track.
In Thailand, sponsors and donors also support a unique program to encourage families to grow their own food in organic gardens. Organically grown fruits and vegetables provide children with the vital nutrients they need, and gardening becomes an activity the entire family can enjoy together. Either in a well-tended plot of land, or in large pots outside of their city home, families are growing peppers, corn, rice, mushrooms, carrots, lemongrass and other nutritious food.
Unplanned Pregnancy Counseling & Support
Every year, Holt sponsors and donors help support over 250 women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in Thailand. Many women first reach out to our local partner, HSF, through a 24/7 support hotline. An HSF social worker may then meet with her, connect her with safe housing resources and provide pregnancy counseling as she decides whether to parent her child or make an adoption plan. A strong stigma against single mothers and their children endures in Thailand, and many women also receive counseling to help them cope with discrimination. About 80 percent of the women who receive HSF’s support ultimately decide to parent, and many continue to receive ongoing support as they work to independently provide for their children. If a woman decides to make an adoption plan, HSF will walk her through the process and work to find a permanent, loving family for her child in Thailand or the U.S.
Orphan & Vulnerable Children Care
Child sponsorship provides care for Thailand’s most vulnerable children.
Today, most children in Holt’s care in Thailand stay with a foster family. Some live at a care center in Bangkok. For every child, Holt sponsors and donors ensure they receive the best care possible while we work to reunite them with their family — or find a permanent family through adoption.
In 1976, Holt helped pioneer foster care in Thailand. In the years since, Holt partner HSF’s model of foster care has remained the standard and example as the government and other non-governmental child welfare agencies have implemented large-scale foster care programs for the country’s orphaned and vulnerable children. A more nurturing alternative to institutional care, foster care provides a loving home for children while they wait to rejoin their family or join a family through adoption. In foster care, children receive the one-on-one attention that’s critical to their development and to fostering healthy emotional attachments.
They also attend monthly foster parent education trainings, often while children have supervised time with their birth parents. Most children remain in foster care for about one year. About half of them will ultimately reunite with their birth families and half will join an adoptive family in Thailand or the U.S.
Standards of Care
For over 40 years, Holt and our local partner, HSF, have set the example for best practices in orphan care for private and public child care institutions throughout the country. We have initiated projects to help children with special needs join families through adoption. We have piloted foster care as the primary method of care for orphaned or abandoned children. Local social workers have provided technical support for child welfare trainings in both the governmental and non-governmental sectors. At the Pakkred Babies’ Home in Bangkok, HSF organizes over 100 trained and dedicated volunteers to regularly play and interact with the children one on one. HSF has also developed specialized trainings for foster parents of children who are living with HIV. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure the highest level of care for children throughout Thailand.
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 of their family. Everywhere we work, we strive to help reunite children living in orphanages with their birth families before we consider in-country or international adoption for them.
With the support of Holt sponsors and donors, Holt has since 2017 helped reunite an average of nine children with their families each year in Thailand.
Nutrition & Health
In Thailand, Holt sponsors and donors provide monthly deliveries of nutrient-dense infant formula, food and other supplies to ensure children in foster care can grow and develop at a healthy rate. Children in foster care also receive regular medical care at local hospitals, and children with special needs receive the specialized care they need to thrive. In the coming years, Holt anticipates that more children with special needs will be transferring from government care centers to Holt foster families. For these children, Holt sponsors and donors will help meet the increased need for medical care and rehabilitative therapies.
International Adoption from Thailand
Helping Children Join Loving, Permanent Families
Through the years, Holt has helped over 1,000 children from Thailand join adoptive families in the United States. Many of the children now waiting for families are toddler-age with minor needs, or are older, part of a sibling group or have more involved special needs.