| Dec 2, 2023
SOAR lets me feel cherished and respected
Mei in her high school graduation (Row 5 2nd left)
In this report, we are thrilled to share the heartwarming story of Mei, a Hmong (Miao) girl growing up in the poorest mountain village in Guizhou. Here, we celebrate her unwavering pursuit of a career as a lawyer to help others, a journey that has not only transformed her life but also holds the promise to uplift countless other village girls. Your support has the remarkable power to amplify these opportunities and embolden the aspirations of promising talents like Mei. Here is her narrative:
I am Mei. My ancestors have been farmers for generations. My parents only had education from elementary school and my mother has chronic diseases. My family's income is mainly supported by my father's hard work at construction sites. I am very honored to be able to share my story with SOAR here, and I am also very grateful to SOAR for nurturing and helping me!
From the time I can remember, my parents went out to work and left me in the care of my grandparents, who arranged for me to live in a small room of about 10 square feet, literally called a cow shelter. If I turned on the light at night to do my homework, I would be scolded by my patriarchal grandparents for wasting electricity. They thought that girls didn't have to get too much education. There were once some thoughtful neighbors who wanted to help me improve my living and studying conditions, so that I could at least do my homework without going hungry or freezing, but my grandparents refused, saying that this was a family matter that did not need outside intervention. Because of this, the neighbors and my grandparents almost had a conflict, and then no one dared to help me. I didn't dare to fight for it too, because fighting would only lead to even more conflict.
When I was preparing for my high school entrance exam, I was so thrilled to learn that I had been awarded the SOAR Scholarship and that the money would be directly deposited to my bank card. I was touched and surprised because I had received financial assistance a few times before, but the money was sent to my grandparents instead, who did not use the money for my studies but to support the family’s daily life.
Since I met SOAR, I have gained confidence in myself as a person, and I feel that I am cherished and respected. I have come to understand that I must study hard to change my fate, or else I will be stuck in that 10 square meter place for the rest of my life.
Because of my experience, I used to be very reluctant to communicate with other people, and when I spoke, my hands would shake and I would not be able to finish my sentences. SOAR introduced me to one-on-one English language tutoring, which I initially refused because I knew that it would be difficult for me to overcome my communication difficulties. However, I did not want to fail SOAR's training and financial support, so I chose to accept the tutoring with great difficulty. The tutor was very kind, patient and meticulous, encouraging me to communicate boldly. After several sessions, I became more and more fluent in spoken English, and my English teacher at my university was surprised to find that my spoken English had improved by leaps and bounds. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the SOAR Scholarship and the selfless help of my English tutors, who have spent so much time and energy on my studies, and I have not let you down. I am very glad that I made the right choice at that time, because I can never overcome the difficulties of my communication without fighting for it.
When I went to look for a part-time job this summer, I was no longer afraid of communicating, I passed the face-to-face interview, I got a chance to work, and I gained a little bit of working experience, which made my vacation very fulfilling. When I was in my third year of college, I started to prepare for the Master of Laws examination because I was interested in being a warm person and helping people in need, and studying law would help me to realize my own values. In my daily life, I try to prevent bullying in schools because I don't want to see such things happen. Whether it is domestic violence or bullying in schools, there is a need for outside intervention.
I am very thankful to SOAR for nurturing me and allowing me to grow up while learning to protect the growth of others! SOAR has not only helped me financially, but also spiritually!
Mei's narrative stands as a living testament to the profound impact a scholarship can wield – nurturing dreams, inspiring aspirations, and rewriting destinies. With your continued support, SOAR envisions a future where young girls like Mei and Melinda (highlighted in our previous report) are guided from remote villages to the realms of academic excellence and empowerment. Together, we sow the seeds for a world where dreams stretch boundlessly and every deserving individual has the opportunity to soar to unprecedented heights.