A Roof for Thann

In February, I spent a week visiting children and families in Holt’s program in rural Cambodia, where extreme poverty, under-development, food shortages and un-policed exploitation threaten the stability, health and wellness of children, families and entire communities.

On our last day in Kampot, an older woman met our Holt group just as we were returning to our vehicle to head back to Phnom Penh. She didn’t speak English, so I shook her hand before hopping in the backseat of the SUV. I have no idea how far she walked to find us.

She walked to the driver’s side window and told our community development officer that her family really needed a new roof, and to ask if we could help provide one. He discussed her request with Holt’s director of programs in Cambodia, Kosal Cheam, who translated her request to us as we drove away.

While I didn’t actually see her home, I imagined it was similar to those I had visited all week. It was probably a thatch roof with thatch walls, built on stilts.

A leaky roof in Cambodia is a huge threat to children’s health and safety. During the rainy season, children will be more susceptible to colds and illness. The leaking can rot the floor and ruin the whole home.

I asked how much the new roof would cost, and Kosal said it would be about $100.

Upon returning to the U.S., I donated $100 to our Cambodia program, designated for this family. It was such a minimal cost to change a family’s life and keep them safe.

Last week, I received an email from Kosal and I opened it excitedly, expecting to see pictures of the new roof.

I was heartbroken by her news.

The roof was delayed because the grandmother died just a few days prior and the mother, father and children were preparing for her funeral.

As if that weren’t sad enough, Kosal also said that because the family’s home was in such poor condition, there wasn’t enough support from the walls and central pillars to support the weight of a new roof.

Kosal included two attachments, and I clicked them open. I was shocked by what I saw.

This is a picture of the family’s home.


And this is a picture of the family. Thann, the little boy on the left, is in Holt’s child sponsorship program, so he receives help with his school fees and other critical, basic needs, like emergency food. Thann is a good student and doing well in school. His younger sister is too little to enroll in school. The family makes their income farming rice, but Holt’s on-the-ground staff are helping them to learn new income generating skills, like animal raising. Also, Thann’s mother is in a Holt-funded self-help and low-interest loan group in her village. You can read more about Holt’s self-help groups here.

IMG_2158Children and families in our programs tend to be among the most vulnerable in the world. In Cambodia, poverty is especially pervasive. However, even by that standard, this home is in very, very rough shape.

I can’t imagine the sadness this family is experiencing, having just lost a dear loved one and family elder. And to go through the excitement of learning that one of grandma’s last wishes for her family — a new roof! — was granted, but then impossible to complete… That must have felt just hopeless.

But I know we can make a miracle for this family and give them some hope in their time of need.

For $400 more, we can not only replace the roof, but fix the family’s home to support the new roof.

To make a donation, call Holt Development Associate Courtney Young at 541-687-2202 or email courtneyy@holtinternational.org and let her know you want to donate to Thann’s roof project. She will be happy to take you donation over the phone. You can also donated here, but be sure to write “Thann’s Roof Project CBACE15-002” in the comment box.

Any amount you give will be used 100 percent to help this family. Anything above $400 will be redirected to a similar program of greatest need.

Thank you for giving this family the resources they need to get back on their feet. Your gift will be truly inspiring and life changing for them.

If you make a gift, we will email you when we receive an update from Cambodia.

Billie Loewen | Creative Lead







Hey sponsors, on behalf of children and their parents around the world, thank you.

Recently, Holt staff visited a daycare center Holt supports in Manila, Philippines. Here, in a colorful room full of 3-to-4-year-olds, there are abundant toys, crayons and notebooks, a loving teacher, nutritious food and most of all, hope.

These children live in one of the most impoverished barangays (or neighborhoods) in Manila, but because of support from sponsors like you, they and their entire families are receiving the resources they need thrive!

In the Philippines, Holt partners with the organization Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF), which works in this particular barangay to ensure 50 preschoolers are safe and cared for while their parents are at work. KBF also works to ensure that older children can attend school with the educational support they receive from their sponsors, and that struggling parents are empowered through Holt microloans to start sustainable businesses that will provide for their entire family.

The impact of sponsorship for these children and families is huge. With the support they receive, these families have the resources and skills to transform their lives and their communities!

And no one appreciates this transformation more than the parents of the children in our sponsorship program. In this video, you’ll hear from Shila whose daughter attends the preschool at KBF.

Your support not only provides education, nutrition and opportunity, but it prevents child abandonment, ensuring that families stay together. When families are prepared and empowered to fight poverty, that means that these parents will never have to make the heartbreaking decision to separate from their children in hope of giving them a better life.

Whether you sponsor a child in the Philippines, Cambodia, Mongolia, Haiti or somewhere else, know that your support is truly transformational.

On behalf of children and their parents around the world, thank you.

You can read more about Holt’s programs in the Philippines here.

A GOOD day to give HOPE!


Today, on Good Friday, we commemorate Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross and rejoice that three days later he would rise again and fulfill his promise to us all. Because of his sacrifice, we have hope!


By providing chickens to struggling families, nutritious eggs to hungry children or tools for families to grow a sustainable garden, you will exemplify Christ’s love in a very powerful and meaningful way.

On this special day, you can share the joy that we have in Christ with others around the world through the giving of a gift that will bring life and hope!

Give a Good Friday Gift of Hope today!

Reasons for Hope This Easter

easter-email2-Header-600-WideOn Easter, we celebrate Jesus as God’s gift to the world. Through Him there is light, life and ultimate hope! So what better reason or season than Easter to give a tangible form of hope to children and families all around the world?


When you give educational support, lifesaving food, blankets and shoes, or the materials to plant a sustainable garden, you give the gift of survival, stability and hope to the children and families who truly need it most.



Giving a Gift of Hope to a family in need is also a great way to talk with your own children about hope and the joy that comes from giving.

Celebrate Easter by giving a Gift of Hope today! 

Or, if you’ve already given, share this post on social media and encourage your friends to give Hope this Easter! 

What Food Do We Send Them?

email4-NK1_2016_Header_600x285When a steaming bowl of rice, corn or noodles is placed in front of a child in a North Korean care center, that child knows this food is a blessing. It should be their right. It should be every child’s right to eat three nourishing meals every day. But in a country that regularly experiences extreme food shortages and poverty, these children understand that food is precious.

Together, we can ensure these children receive the vital nutrients they need for their health and survival.


But you may be wondering — what food do we send them? 

When care center staff open the bags of food delivered from China, they find carbohydrate-full survival food: noodles, rice, grains, corn and infant formula. Not only will these foods keep the children’s bodies growing and healthy, but these foods are also non-perishable so that the orphanage staff can use and ration them as needed.

In addition to food shipments, your gift today will provide warm clothes and blankets — helping children to bear the frigid winter temperatures and lack of fuel for heating. 

Give today to help fill the bellies of children in North Korea — their survival depends upon it. 



Children in China Urgently Need Adoptive Families

PeddicordsIt can take time to decide with certainty to adopt a child. But once you do make that life-changing decision, it can feel discouraging to wait even longer to bring your child home.

We understand. And we also have great news!

Right now, the need for families to adopt children with correctable conditions from China is so great that once you complete your dossier, you will likely go straight into the matching process! In the past, most families would sit on a waitlist behind other families who are hoping to adopt a child of a similar profile. But because we now have more children than families waiting to adopt, we are often able to match families who are open to a boy within several weeks of completing their dossier! The wait for a girl is also the shortest it has been in several years — currently about 5-6 months after a family’s dossier arrives in China.

Regardless of whether you are open to a boy or a girl, this means a huge dip in the wait to bring your child home. Continue reading “Children in China Urgently Need Adoptive Families”

Danny Needs a Family!

Share Danny’s story in your community and with your friends on social media to help find him the loving, permanent family he deserves.

Born: 3/3/15, NE Asia


Just look at that adorable face, those curious eyes and that demure little grin.  This is Danny, a cute and happy 1-year-old who loves to eat and is learning to stand on his own. Relinquished by his birth mother who was unable to care for him, Danny just celebrated his first birthday surrounded by his loving foster mother and father, and two older foster siblings, all who dote on Danny and care for him with great joy. Danny’s foster sister loves to make him giggle, something he does quite often according to his social worker.  And Danny’s foster brother, who is married and lives close by, comes to visit Danny whenever he can.  “All the family loves this child very much,” Danny’s social worker writes.  “They all assist in caring for him, and hope he will grow up as a happy and healthy child in the love of a family.” Continue reading “Danny Needs a Family!”

A Joyous Celebration

Last summer, for International Day of the Child, 200 children in Uganda celebrated with songs, dance, cake and gifts! But maybe the most meaningful part of the day was the children’s reflection on their lives and their heartfelt thanks for the transformational support they receive from their sponsors.

A large group of children from Holt’s family strengthening program in Uganda waited nervously to board a van. It was June 1, the International Day of the Child, and they were driving to the Jolly Children’s Education Center for a birthday celebration supported by Holt sponsors. So why were they nervous? For most of the children, this was their first time ever riding in a car!

At first, many of the young children cried when the car started, but it didn’t take long for their whimpers to be replaced by happy laughter that filled the van. It was going to be an exciting day!

The 150 total sponsored children in Uganda live in the Kalongero and Bika communities where they attend Jolly Children’s Education Center. Primary school-aged children traveled from all around these communities to attend the party. Siblings of children in sponsorship were also invited to attend the party — making it a birthday celebration for a total of 200 happy children. Their schoolteachers would be there as well, along with leaders from Holt’s Uganda program and Holt’s local partner organization, Action for Children. Continue reading “A Joyous Celebration”

A Beautiful Dream for India

Meet Jim De, Holt’s new India country director! From caring for foster children in his childhood home, to finding families for children orphaned by the 2004 tsunami, to greeting Holt adoptive families at the Delhi airport, he has always followed his life’s passion — advocating for his country’s orphaned and abandoned children. 

It was 2:00 a.m. and 7-year-old Jim De sat awake in his home with his mother. She changed a baby’s diaper while he held another one in his arms, feeding her a bottle of formula. Tonight was their turn for “night duty,” a task in which they stayed up all night to care for the 30-40 children living in the care center that the De family ran out of their home. Jim and his mother were on night duty about once a week — and he loved it!

“I was very excited about doing that kind of stuff,” Jim says now, during his visit from India to Holt’s headquarters in Eugene, Oregon. “It was so much fun to stay up all night — but by 4:00 in the morning, you were out!”

Throughout his years growing up in India, serving children — growing up with them as friends and welcoming them into his home as family — was a normal part of his life. Jim’s father worked as treasurer for the Church of North India and his mother was involved with child welfare organizations. What started as his family fostering just one child — Tom, who needed somewhere to stay while his international adoption was finalized — soon turned into the De family fostering many children out of their home and eventually opening up an official care center for these children.

“They were my friends,” Jim says. “For us, it was exciting! There was always a new child in the house, a new friend — we always welcomed them.”

Continue reading “A Beautiful Dream for India”

Building Hope in the Barangays

In the most impoverished communities of Manila, Philippines, Holt’s on-the-ground partner is working with at-risk families to build and strengthen small businesses. Because when parents can independently provide for their children, we know that families succeed and children thrive.

PH 2016 Visit Olandes Day Care Center 36
Teacher Chris checks a student’s work before lunch is served in Escopa III’s free Holt-funded preschool program for 3-5 year-old children.

Teacher Chris raises his hand to quiet his classroom of 15 children.

The 4 and 5-year-olds turn to look at him, each in their matching school uniforms — brightly colored T-shirts with Bertha Holt’s iconic “every child is beautiful” quote screen printed on the back. They break into song, cheerfully chanting, “Thank you, Lord, for giving us food. Hallelujah, praise the Lord,” in unison.

Children in KBF daycare and preschool programs wear uniforms featuring Holt founder Bertha Holt’s iconic quote.

This is a daily ritual before the end-of-day meal is served. Continue reading “Building Hope in the Barangays”