Girls Just Like Me

-by Julie Colquhoun

Getting a chance to visit and chat to the My First Job girls was such a special and rewarding experience for me.  Hearing first hand stories of girls needing to leave school at grade 3 because of family needs, domestic abuse, being severely burnt by a stepfather and never wanting to show your face in public, coping with single motherhood living in tents on the grassland with no food to supply your children – it was all heart breaking to hear.

Words cannot express how much it means to these girls to be given life-skills, hygiene education, how best to care for children, how to clean apartments, toilets, using public transport, going shopping in supermarkets allows them to rebuild dignity, self-worth and value in the community and their family.  Many of these things we take for granted as we are taught them growing up.  A glimpse into where these girls are currently and the difficulties and hardship they have to deal with, allows me another glimpse into where they are heading with being given the opportunity to learn, grow, and be able to get jobs that will be able to care for their children.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to speak to them via a translator about how valued, precious and special they all are – all having gifts and abilities to change not only their own lives but their children and their communities. Some of the girls, as I glanced around, had tears in their eyes as I don’t believe that anyone has ever said that to them before.  When we left the girls, I couldn’t help but tear up as these girls are just like me – wanting to be loved, given value, hope, believed in and given a second chance at life to really make a contribution and be accepted into their community as women able to make a change and difference.

I am so thankful to all the individual sponsors of these girls and the Li & Fung Foundation that sit behind this program. To Carrie and the team at Shamtse who are bringing such hope to each one of these girls, you are all wonderful. Thank-you for your hearts and service.

“Beauty from ashes”

– One girl can make a difference but together we can change our world.

CHINA | HUSKY ENERGY TAILORING SKILLS PROGRAM FOR WOMEN

Great Progress among Tailoring Skills Trainees

On May 1, 2021, the three-month Cenovus Tailoring Skills Program for Women in two regions officially began. The trainees have been taking their classes seriously and are helping each other a lot. We are proud to share the progress they have made in the past one and a half months.




CHINA | MY FIRST JOB PROGRAM

My First Job Trainees Succeeds through Midterm Evaluation

The first My First Job Assistant Chef Program of 2021 for women in agricultural and pastoral areas in Qinghai Province officially opened in May 1. With the support and cooperation of teachers and local coordinators, the training has been going smoothly. Each of the women has her own learning style and pace, but everyone strives to improve each day. After one and a half months of training and practice, the women have learned 16 dishes in total. 

On June 14, the midterm evaluation for the trainees was conducted.




CHINA | EDUCATE GIRLS | MY FIRST JOB PROGRAM

Strong Woman for Her Family

"I've never been to school due to our family's financial condition. Because of this, it's very difficult for me to find a stable job. My family depends on me that's why I need to be strong."




CAPTIVATING’S ONE MORE YEAR SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM | CHINA | EDUCATE GIRLS

Strong Will to Study

Despite her good grades, it was still unlikely for Lhamo to proceed to college. Her mother had difficulty sending her to school so she decided to stay at home and help out with the household chores. 




CHINA | MY FIRST JOB PROGRAM

Memorable Encounter between Trainees and Program Partner

My First Job Assistant Chef Program for 30 women officially starts today. These women, along with the program coordinator and Captivating staff, were also very happy to meet the six representatives from our program partner, Zuru.




CHINA | END POVERTY | MY FIRST JOB PROGRAM

Getting ready to learn an employable skill

30 underprivileged women in rural Western China are getting excited about their opportunity to attend the next My First Job Assistant Chef Training Program. This successful program will see them move from being "furthest from employment" to earning stable incomes - many for the first time in their lives.