The school year will soon come to a close at the HOLD the Children sponsor schools.  Unlike American kids, summer break for the poor does not constitute sleeping late, afternoons at the pool, picnics, or endless hours of video games.  There are no vacations on white sandy beaches or fun packed days at Disney World or other theme parks.  The things we associate with summer break are far different than those of the poor.

In Haiti, children are often forced to work to help feed their families.  Young children will be hired out to carry water or do laundry to earn pennies.  Many children become restavecs, children sent by their parents to work for a host household as a domestic servant.  Many of these children become abused.  In Jamaica, resident deaf and handicapped students go home where they are treated like second-class citizens, or worse.  They leave the school where they get three meals a day and compassionate care only to return home where they do not always receive the same care.  In Guatemala children are forced to spend their days on the streets selling souvenirs, flowers and other tourist trinkets to help support their family.  They dare not return home until their goods are sold.

There is nothing wrong with the way we Americans enjoy our summers, but it is quite different from how your sponsor child will spend his or her summer.  More than 30% of these students will not return when classes resume in October.  Some will have moved; some will be forced to continue working; sadly some will die.  Life for the poor and the handicapped is very hard.  Please pray that God will protect our HOLD the Children kids during the summer and bring them back to class in October.