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Archive for September, 2011

Last night I met with two of the students that received scholarship from our program. These two sisters came from a Hmong village way up on the hill with no public transportation and no electricity.  Actually this scholarship program sponsored three of the sisters.  The first graduated three years ago and is now working with an insurance company doing well. The second sister will graduate with a bachelor degree in tourism and the youngest will graduate with this February as well. These sisters are really hard working and are performing well academically. While in Chiang Rai they used to work at times till 5 in the morning, came home, and got ready to go to school again in the morning. I asked how many young people in the village get to go to college. Their response was, about 5%.  Not only are they hard working and determined to help support their families, they are concern for their village as well. I had a long conversation about the struggle of the villagers and learned that most villagers do not have sufficient connection. They grow crops yearly and make approximately 500 to 1,000 dollars a year if they were able to sell their crops. They do not have knowledge in terms of outlet for their products. When the price is bad, they suffer. Some years, their entire year labor reaps nothing due to external circumstances and the cycle of debt continues. Their are young people with dreams and vision and courage. They are the minority but through determination, they make a difference for themselves and for their families and hopefully for their village as well.

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I met Banyen this evening at a restaurant by Ratchadapisek, Bangkok. She has just spent a week in Bangkok and learning to find her ways around. I have known Banyen for over four years. She was among the students that I sponsored while she was pursuing an undergraduate degree in accounting. The very first time I saw her, I visited her house which was located 40 minutes from Chiang Rai city in a small Akka village. We ate Akka meal which was interesting. Since, we have been in contact and every time I visited Chiang Rai I would try to give her a visit. Banyen came from a family of 5, she being the youngest and no one has earned anything beyond a high school diploma. Not just her family, but very few in her village pursued higher education but Banyen was determined to earn a degree and be a place of refuge for her family. After completed an associate degree, she worked full-time for an NGO while studying during weekends to earn her bachelor degree.  A couple of weeks ago I talked to her on FB and told her that I would like to meet with her. But by then she has left Chiang Rai city for Bangkok. Sitting across from her at the restaurant I asked her about her job in Bangkok. Banyen told me that she took three exams in order to become government officer. She competed with over ten thousand applicants and was among one hundred who were selected for employment. She told me that she prayed really hard because she wanted so badly to be an example for young people in her village. She was always encouraging others in her village to go to school and will be helping her nieces and nephews with education. It felt really inspiring to not only learn of her achievement in her career (very few at her age make it through the process) but her passion for her people in the Akka village. I left the dinner touched by her story and hope that God will continue to lead her in her path as she seeks to reach out to others.

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