Home>September 2020>Helping young women build a brighter future

Helping young women build a brighter future

Scholarship students at Xavier Jesuit School Cambodia

On the evening of the 12th August, we successfully held our first Gratitude Webinar. Hosted by Jesuit Mission CEO, Helen Forde, the 30-minute webinar was held to thank our friends of Jesuit Mission – like you – for your ongoing support, particularly during these difficult past few months. We are so blessed and are truly grateful for your generosity!

Korean Jesuit, Fr Jinhyuk Park joined the webinar to share his experiences of working and living through a global pandemic at Xavier Jesuit School (XJS) in Cambodia. 

Fr Jinhyuk talked about delivering emergency food relief to XJS students and families in their home villages.  He also discussed how the closures of schools in Cambodia has highlighted the educational inequalities for students from low-income families as they consider discontinuing their studies to support their families.

Here is one story of how your support to our Emergency Action Fund has changed one girl’s life by enabling her to continue her studies.

Mardi is one of the oldest scholarship students at XJS. She started high school later than her peers due to hardships at home. When she was younger, her house burnt down leaving her family with nothing. They never fully recovered from that disaster. Mardi’s mother, as the sole breadwinner of the family, was a migrant worker in Thailand. However, with the COVID-19 border closures, she had to return home and has not been able to find any work in her village. With no support from the government, she struggled to provide her family with three meals a day.

Mardi with her mother standing in front of their chicken coop

Fr Jinhyuk and his team came to know of this dire situation when they visited Mardi’s home to deliver emergency food relief. They knew that this food relief was not going to last very long and needed a sustainable solution. So, they invited Mardi’s mother to join the chicken bank income-generating project where the school supports the participants to start raising free-range chickens to sell at the market.

Everyone was relieved when Mardi’s mother agreed to take part in the project, as Mardi was considering discontinuing her studies to work in Thailand with her mum once the borders open up again. With her mother’s involvement in the chicken project, Mardi felt less guilty about her desire to finish high school.

Fr Jinhyuk recalls Mardi’s smile when her mum accepted the invitation to join the chicken project. He said that smile spoke volumes. “I felt happy as if we found a lost sheep. At the same time, I felt sorry for what they had to go through. I believe there are many others like Mardi in Cambodia and other countries”.

“With your generous support, they can still continue to build their bright future. You also enabled us to accompany our students more closely and continue to find ways to provide quality education for students. I thank you for your solidarity with our students and their families and us here”.

Click here to watch the webinar.

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