Every month, you faithfully send your $34 to your sponsored child … Sort of.
Technically, you send your gift to Holt International, trusting that we will properly steward your money and direct it to your sponsored child. We don’t, in fact, actually give your sponsored child and his or her family $34 in cash or check each month.
Why, you ask? Wouldn’t our sponsorship program be just as effective if we simply wrote a check each month?
Well, that’s a great question, and it is one that our sponsorship team hears often.
There are many reasons why Holt doesn’t give cash to the children and families in our programs, but the biggest reason is that we care deeply about those who we serve and we want every mother, father and child in our programs to be successful. Remember, Holt’s ultimate goal is to ensure that every child has a permanent, loving family. But while our goal for every child is the same, the way we work toward that goal is different for every child.
Very generally, we use your $34 to provide a child with educational opportunities, nutrition-rich food, warm clothing, medical care and the love of a family. However, in practice, it’s much more individually tailored than that — and has a much bigger impact on his or her future.
For most of the children in our sponsorship program, we work to help them stay in their birth families. We work with families to eliminate whatever hardship is placing their child at risk of separation — often poverty, family illness or lack of resources. Sometimes, we can help stabilize families by providing simple necessities, such as school fees, medical care, nutritional assistance or vocational training for parents. Some families need all four of these resources to grow strong and self-reliant. Some families may just need one of our services. Ultimately, we want to help families stand on their own feet, which means that we not only identify the root cause of their vulnerability, but we work with the family to create a plan to achieve both self-reliance and stability. Each family is different, and each family faces different challenges.
While giving a family $34 each month may seem like a fast and easy way to help them solve problems related to poverty or illness, it could actually cause the family to become reliant on Holt. Rather than learning, growing and working toward a stable future — gaining job skills, earning income from animal raising, etc — families could grow dependent on a monthly check. In reality, teaching families to provide for themselves is far more empowering and effective in the long-term.
Often, families grow and learn so much in our program that they continue to teach and mentor other families in their community for years to come — sometimes starting or participating in community groups, local microloan systems or other networking groups. There is no way that a $34 financial boost each month can provide that kind of empowerment.
Also, because Holt partners with groups like schools, physicians, social welfare centers and more, we are able to offer resources at a lower cost than they might be if families sought those services independently — or, partner with multiple funding agencies to provide these services. Rather than pay school fees upfront, our educational partnerships allow more children to receive a better education at a lower cost, since educational or medical programs are often funded by multiple sources. In this way, sponsorship maximizes your gift, helping to serve not only your sponsored child, but entire families and communities. In this way, your sponsorship dollars not only serve the child you help, but many children.
While most of the children we serve live with their birth families, we also care for many children in foster homes or orphanages. While we strive to reunite children with their birth families whenever possible, some have been abandoned or relinquished by their families — and some are true orphans. Holt sponsors help ensure these children receive the highest level of care while they wait for a permanent, loving family in their country of birth or in the United States. Often, the cost of this type of care is higher than $34 per month, and these children may have more than one sponsor. Or, because they live in foster families, group homes or child care centers funded by Holt and other partners, we are able to balance costs. Holt works with multiple partner agencies to provide group home or foster home care, including many of the governments in the countries where Holt works, so funding can also come through a variety of sources. Ultimately, pooling that money helps Holt serve many, many more children. And, it allows us to bring more children into our programs even before they have a sponsor.
As a sponsor, your support is absolutely vital to the work we do, and you truly make a life-changing difference to a child or family who needs you. However, as part of a network of supporters who make our work possible around the world, you also represent a piece of a very big puzzle, and your support actually impacts our ability to create meaningful and lasting change in every country where we work.
We can’t thank you enough for what you do!
If you are interested in sponsoring a child (or two or five!), click here.