Remembering Dr. David Kim

David KimWe are heartbroken to share that Dr. David Kim, a man of God who devoted his entire life to passionately caring for orphaned children, passed away today at age 86. Please keep praying and sharing your memories of him. You are bringing comfort to his family and to everyone who loved him. David Kim gave thousands and thousands of children a second chance at life, and he inspired everyone around him to do more, care more and work harder to protect the most vulnerable children in the world. His brightness, compassion and commitment will never be forgotten.

A celebration of David’s life will take place at the Faith Center in Eugene, Oregon, on February 24, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested to please make donations to Holt International. Your gift will be used to help children with urgent needs that might otherwise go unmet, especially children with special needs as that was a cause close to David’s heart. If you would like to share memories or photos of David Kim, please email them to photosubmission@holtinternational.org

To read David’s full obituary, please click here. 

Blow out the candles and make a wish.

Kids and birthdays go together. Need proof? Just watch the video above, where we ask kids why birthdays are the best day of the year.

Birthdays are a great day to remind children how special they are, how much we love them and that they are making the world a better place, simply by being themselves.

Send you sponsored child a special birthday card!

But children living in an impoverished place or facing a difficult hardship, like the child you sponsor, may rarely have a chance to hear that they are valuable, precious and worthy of celebration.

That’s why International Day of the Child is so fun! On June 1, because of you and your generosity, your sponsored child just gets to act like a kid.

They eat special treats, play fun games, spend time with their families and friends and open a present just for them.

But, it’s only because of kind and compassionate sponsors that this special day is possible. Continue reading “Blow out the candles and make a wish.”

A Day-in-the-Life of a Sponsored Child: Wei’s Story

Just before Chinese New Year at the end of January, Holt staff and child sponsorship advocates in Nanning, China, visited Wei’s rural village.

Here, Wei lives with his mom and two sisters in a small home. Wei was excited to spend time with his advocate, Mr. Pan, who is the man in the leather jacket throughout this video. Wei showed staff his house, favorite fishing spot and the lush farmland that surrounds his home.

See what a day is like in Wei’s life and how sponsorship is helping him to stay in school — a luxury that his older sisters can no longer afford.

Thank you for the continued support of your sponsored child. We can’t emphasize often enough the very real difference your commitment makes in the lives of the children in Holt’s programs. Because of you, children are safer, healthier and staying in school longer. They feel loved and confident knowing their U.S. sponsor cares for them.

As you watch Wei’s story, consider how life may be similar or different for the child you chose to sponsor.

*As a note of authenticity, the voice in the video is not Wei’s, but it does accurately convey Wei’s responses during our recent visit and interview with him.

We Think You Are Amazing

You are extraordinary.

Every month, you give some of what’s in your bowl to fill the bowl of a child in need — a child you have never met, and likely never will. This may be a sacrifice for you. Or it may seem small and inconsequential.

But let us assure you, what you are doing is nothing less than monumental in the life of a child. Your monthly sponsorship is empowering a child — or children — to overcome the circumstances to which they were born, and to seek out every opportunity in life. You are their champion.

Our staff around the world also think you are extraordinary. They know that the work they do for children and families could not and would not happen without your critical support.

They too have never met you, and likely never will. But their admiration for you is just as real and heartfelt as the love and compassion you feel for the child you sponsor.

From all of us at Holt — in the U.S. and around the world — thank you for all that you do for orphaned and vulnerable children. We are truly blessed to work alongside you, and we wish you and your family a joyous Christmas and a bright, beautiful new year.

Their World Has Opened Up, Because of You

In southern Ethiopia, in a town called Shinshicho, there is a special school where children from all over the region come to study. Some walk up to six miles every day just so they can learn there.

It is the only school for deaf children in a community of over 250,000 people — a community that also happens to have the highest rate of deafness in all of Ethiopia.

Six years ago, the deaf children of this region had no school to go to, no teachers to teach them, no knowledge of sign language — or even an awareness that a language existed for those who could not hear. Without a way to communicate with the outside world, they lived lives of loneliness and isolation — completely unable to express their intelligent thoughts and complex emotions even with their own families. They were barely recognized as human.

But when the Yesus Mena School for the Deaf opened in Shinshicho, suddenly a world of possibility also opened up for these children. Today, with the support of Holt sponsors like you, 395 students who are deaf or partially hearing are finally receiving the sign-language-based education they need and deserve.

The video above tells the story of one boy at Yesus Mena who, with the support of his sponsors, can finally share what he was holding inside, all along.

Thank you for all you do for your sponsored child. Wherever they live, whatever their struggle, your sponsorship has opened a world of possibility in their life.

Preview the spring sponsorship magazine!

Keep an eye on your mailbox because the spring sponsorship edition of Holt International Magazine is on it’s way!

In this edition, you will find:

  • Updates on Holt-funded family strengthening and orphan care programs around the world
  • Stories about former sponsored children who are now giving back to the communities where they grew up
  • A profile on the Annie Moses Band, one of the many musical groups using their talents to advocate for orphaned and vulnerable children
  • Stories straight from sponsors who share what inspired them to go above and beyond for children in need
  • An issue alert exploring how the stigma of HIV remains a huge threat to the safety and stability of children in China

In this issue, we also spotlight Holt’s programs in Cambodia, and how sponsors and donors have provided the resources for Cambodian mothers and grandmothers to transform Continue reading “Preview the spring sponsorship magazine!”

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.

Sponsorship = Healthy Children, Stable Families, Strong Communities.

If we ever wish to see a world where every child has a permanent, loving family, then keeping families on the verge of separation together is critical.

In Cambodia, this concept is absolutely central to Holt’s programs.

With the generosity and commitment of sponsors like you, Holt’s on-the-ground partners are empowering women to combat some of the biggest threats to family stability — migration, trafficking, poverty, poor job opportunities and food shortages.

By training moms in diversified sustainable agriculture (a fancy way of saying farming and ranching), they are able to generate enough income to provide for their families without migrating for work. This helps to keep children safe. By creating women’s self-help groups and community loan programs, women are learning to save money and also have access to low-interest loans. This helps ensure children’s basic needs are met. And, by providing children with school supplies, teachers, advocates and education-based leadership opportunities, children are staying in school longer and staying safe from exploitation, abuse and trafficking. And, children share what they’ve learned with their parents, too.

All together, these efforts mean healthier, happier children, stable families and stronger communities.

And it’s all because of you, because you provide the support to ensure these programs are possible. By sponsoring a child, you are giving a voice to the voiceless and preventing child abandonment, and not just in Cambodia but everywhere Holt has programs.

In early February, Holt staff had the opportunity to visit children and families in Cambodia, and we hope you will take a minute to see how sponsorship is transforming the lives of children and families in two of the poorest districts, Prey Veng and Kampot.

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

Spotlight on the Philippines: a Snapshot of Our Work Serving Children

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The children featured in this photo essay are thriving largely because of the compassionate people who sponsor them.

Join the movement. Change a life. Sponsor a child.

A Priceless Opportunity to Travel with Holt

In early 2011, Holt introduced a pilot adoption program for older children in the Philippines. Ambassadors — many of them social workers, adoptive parents or staff — traveled to the Philippines to meet a group of older children waiting to be adopted. After getting to know the children, the ambassadors returned to the United States and got to work seeking families for them in their communities. Below, previous Holt ambassador and Holt adoptive mom Kari Bargstadt-Wilson shares about her experience on Holt’s 2012 trip to the Philippines. 

Holt is now recruiting ambassadors from the western U.S. for the 2015 Philippines Ambassador Trip to be held May 3-10, 2015. For more information, contact Danielle Peebles at daniellep@holtinternational.org.

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Kari… I’m a physical therapist, mother of six, cook to eight, wife to one and a Holt ambassador to 15 beautiful Filipino teenagers.  In 2012, my husband and I talked about taking a much-needed anniversary trip — for the first time without our children — for our 16th year of marriage.   When our friend asked me if we were interested in Holt’s Philippines Ambassador trip, I never would have guessed that I could talk my husband into it, but I did.  So we packed up and left our six kids in order to vacation for 10 days with 15 teenagers!  My husband would have to admit that it was a life-altering trip.

Kari (right) and a couple of her fellow ambassadors observe kids on the 2012 trip as they work on an art project.
Saying goodbye to our children, spending our “anniversary” vacation money to go, and traveling half way around the world to give a few strange kids some hugs = PRICELESS!  That is how I feel about the trip we took. Continue reading “A Priceless Opportunity to Travel with Holt”