Last week, we received an exciting update from Blah Chermui, our Scholarship Manager in Thailand: eight of our girl students have passed their entrance exams and are going to high school!
For this particular region, that's unprecedented. To put it in perspective, five of these girls graduated from Bong Phrae, a local village grade school that, until now, had never had a girl go on to high school. Not one. And this year alone there were five!
All of these girls have overcome incredible odds: A culture that doesn't place a high value on education and places an even lower value on girls; Parents that are divorced, indebted, abusive, alcoholic, imprisoned, or absent; Generations of poverty.
"It is hard because the teacher at the school not really encourage and support them to go to high school," Blah explains. "Because they thought that high school is only for someone who has very good GPA or study hard. And they think that their own students can not do it—that they are not good enough. There are very few of the parents, too, who really know how to encourage, how to introduce, explain, and help their own kid to make plan for education. They not really think about how important it is during the time they graduate, before or after."
We've known many of these girls since they were just 11 or 12 and we have always believed in their potential to become what they dream of: teachers, dentists, nurses, accountants, and so much more. It's a dream come true for us to see them go for it.
As she was facing graduation and the decision to go to high school, one of our students, with wisdom beyond her years, wrote, "The foundation of our future is education. Even if we have little money, the knowledge we have gained stays with us forever. We may be given opportunities, but to make our dreams come true also requires discipline and hard work. I also dream that one day, with a lot of hard work, my dreams will become reality. I hope to continue working hard in my studies and make good choices for my future. […] Happiness doesn't mean getting ahead at the cost of those around us, but helping one another find that joy together."
We couldn't agree more. These girls are the first of a new generation of leaders and we are so, so proud of them.
Thanks to your support, incredible changes are taking place in these villages in northern Thailand. This is nothing less than the "girl effect" in action. Which is why we're honored and thrilled that this project has been selected to compete in the annual Girl Effect GlobalGiving Challenge this November.
From November 1st to 30th, we'll be competing for a year-long spot as a part of the Girl Effect Fund. At the end of the month, the six organizations with the highest number of unique donors will win. This would be huge for us, both financially and in terms of international exposure. And we'll need your help to pull it off. Our goal is to invite 1000 people to give even just $10 during the month of November. And to invite them to invite others. Outrageous? Maybe. But as Blah would say, "We just need help and need to work together. TOGETHER WE CAN DO."