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 | EDUCATE GIRLS | VOCATIONAL SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIPS

A Thousand-Mile Trip

62 girls in our second cohort of Vocational School Scholarship Program graduates, completed their courses in July 2020. Most of these girls were only able to go to school up to grade 9, with many dropping out even earlier. The key reasons being financial difficulty, prejudice on the part of their parents not valuing education for girls, and varying family circumstances. Their dreams of a career and independence were gone. But thanks to the Vocational School Scholarship program, dreams are coming true again. Luma is one of our graduating girls and she shares her story.




CHINA | EDUCATE GIRLS | END POVERTY | HUSKY ENERGY TAILORING SKILLS PROGRAM FOR WOMEN

New Journey for 30 Women

Could you imagine using a tape measure effectively if you didn’t know the numbers? Could you imagine using scissors for the first time and coordinating the cut? These are the challenges usually faced by women who have joined the Husky Energy Tailoring Skills Program for Women as most of them haven’t been to school. But it doesn’t stop them from working hard and learning all they can.




CHINA | END POVERTY | PIGS FOR POVERTY

Perfect Example of What's Possible

Since the start of the year, Pigs for Poverty program has helped 54 families and are looking forward to helping 71 more families as the year continues. But another exciting news for us is that we have a very special lady joining us in this year's project as a trainer.




CHINA | EDUCATE GIRLS | END POVERTY | MY FIRST JOB PROGRAM

Dedicated Student and Role Model Mom

Although life in the countryside is free and happy, economic development here apparently cannot keep up with the rhythm outside, and the cultural gap is tremendous. The financial pressure is increasing every year, and sometimes life gets very difficult and confusing for me. I am Datintso. I am 22, and this is my story.




EDUCATE GIRLS | END POVERTY | VOCATIONAL SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIPS

An Excellent Teacher in the Making

Tashi entered the Vocational School Scholarship Program in 2018, and took up Preschool Education as her chosen vocational study. Her family used to borrow money so she could study but it all became too difficult financially so she had to drop school in 2017 after she finished grade 8. She shares her experiences and dreams with us.




CHINA | EDUCATE GIRLS | END POVERTY | HUSKY ENERGY TAILORING SKILLS PROGRAM FOR WOMEN

Living and Working with Gratitude

When Yedron learned about the Husky Energy Tailoring Skills Program for Women, she was filled with so much hope and eagerness. She wanted to enter the program with the hopes of learning a new skill and start her own business at home.