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 | MY FIRST JOB PROGRAM

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