Home>November 2023>Forging a path ahead

Forging a path ahead

In the heart of Cambodia, your generosity is encouraging children’s dreams to take flight despite their family’s financial constraints. Vanna (17) can now chase her aspirations as vast as the rice fields that surround her village.

Vanna, the fifth of eight siblings, was born into a family that struggles to make ends meet. Her parents, resilient and as hard working as they are, cannot afford to support their children's secondary education.

In 2018, a scholarship funded by our supporters brought Vanna to the Xavier Jesuit School (XJS) hostel in Sisaphon. Here, within the walls of this haven, Vanna discovered a world beyond the confines of her humble village. Education, once a distant dream, became a tangible reality, and the hostel transformed into a family that nurtures her aspirations.

“Before I never dreamt of anything. I never thought of what I wanted to be in the future." she says.

The financial strain compelled her siblings to abandon their academic pursuits, opting instead to labour in the fields, harvesting chili peppers to sustain the family.

However, life at XJS unfolded like a novel with unexpected twists. The family-like environment within the hostel not only provided Vanna with an education but also equipped her with  life skills to navigate the world beyond.

"In the past I was someone who didn’t know much how to communicate with others… But my peers and my teachers have taught me how to build relationships with others," she shared.

Vanna’s transformation is profound. Once shy and reserved, Vanna has blossomed into a confident and expressive individual. "I also felt shy, but now I have the courage to express myself more freely," she says.

With each passing day at XJS, Vanna's dreams grow bolder. Fuelled by the knowledge acquired and life skills gained through the scholarship, she now envisions her future as a middle school teacher of Khmer and Civics. But her dreams don't stop there; Vanna aspires to start her own business, to own a café.

Vanna (holding microphone) leads a group of fellow students in singing at a recent ceremony.

Yet, it is Vanna’s empathy, that truly exemplifies the heart of our programs.

"If I become wealthy, I would want to help others in need. I know how it feels to be poor, so I want to help vulnerable people and the elderly people who don’t have much support."

As the Christmas season approaches, your generosity can make a meaningful impact. By purchasing a Jesuit Mission Gift for Change, you can transform lives this Christmas, and share hope by uplifting vulnerable communities.

You can make a difference.

With just a $50 Gift for Change, you can help buy a bicycle for a young student in Cambodia and give them access to a quality education.

Through your unwavering support, you have not only changed the course of one young girl's life but have sown the seeds of change that will undoubtedly yield a harvest of hope for generations to come.

To browse our Gifts for Change shop for more options – click here.

Browse Gifts for Change Shop

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