Never Their Fault

When a team of Holt donors travels to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to build homes for four of the most vulnerable families in the poorest district of the city, something so unexpected happens — so stunning and so moving — they decide on the spot to build one more.

Amin-Erdene kneels down to zip up her little cousin’s vest — a shiny, hot pink, sleeveless thing that looks far too flimsy for the weather, which has dropped 40 degrees since yesterday. It’s early spring in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a high desert region where the temperature can swing dramatically from both season to season and day to day. Yesterday, it reached the high 70s. Today, it’s in the low 30s, but feels even colder — a face-numbing, paralyzing cold that makes me want to curl into myself like a potato bug.

Amin-Erdene zips up her cousin’s vest on a 30-degree day in Ulaanbaatar. They live next door to each other in the ger district of Mongolia.

But 7-year-old Amin-Erdene and her cousins seem unfazed.

In a country where in the depths of winter the temperature can drop 40 degrees below zero, this is nothing. Amin-Erdene blankets a heavy coat over her little cousin, who sits in an old car seat outside the crowded ger where they’ve been living. Her feet poke out of the coat, in socks and white-heeled dress shoes that make me think of something our local partner said — how parents will often keep their kids home from school in winter because they’re worried about frostbite, and they can’t afford warm shoes. Amin-Erdene’s older brother picks up another little cousin and snuggles her close to him, kissing her on the cheek. Continue reading “Never Their Fault”

Looking to the Sky

After a stroke left her paralyzed, one single mother in Mongolia considered taking her own life. But empowered by the support of Holt sponsors, she regained hope — and her children regained the courageous woman they call mom.

The year 2010 was an especially brutal year in Mongolia. A devastating summer drought followed by an extreme winter — a weather phenomenon known as dzud — wiped out millions of livestock and affected the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of already struggling families. While distressing for the population, this pendulum of weather is nothing new for Mongolia, where winter temperatures can plummet to as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit, and summers are often short but very humid.

But the 2009-2010 season was unusual in Mongolia. The winters were much colder, and the summers were much hotter.with-family-grandmother

Continue reading “Looking to the Sky”

A Book Brings Endless Opportunities

literacy-day-header_600x630Reading can take children anywhere. In the pages of a book, they can travel the world and take part in a grand adventure. Even better, reading can take a child places in their real life, too.

Today is International Literacy Day, a day when we celebrate and promote the importance of literacy.

Even today, 114 million youth around the world are illiterate — 59 percent of them girls and young women. Literacy is the foundation of education, and with an education, children can pursue their dreams and overcome poverty in their communities.

Through Holt’s educational programs, vulnerable children learn to read, write and gain other fundamental skills. As one of our most recent projects, we helped open a library for children in Mongolia.literacy-day-mongolia_600x340

But children need more than just books to learn to read and write. They need pencils and pens and notebooks and paper — supplies that many families struggle to provide.

With the gift of school supplies, you can promote literacy and education in impoverished communities in Mongolia and around the world.

Give today! 

When children can read, they are empowered to go places — both in their imagination, and in life.

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