Somalis' Gift for a Brighter Future
Organized by: Tara Kelly
The plan was to change the world. I can assure you that is what every volunteer is thinking as they are filling out their applications from a comfy couch in the US. The second thought might be traveling the world :) But when you season up a bit, rub a bit of dirt in it all, you learn how those steps you once categorized as "small" are anything but insignificant.
Here is my next challenge. Make sure my Cambodian host sister has the opportunity to study after high school. I want to help this amazing strong young women reach for the stars and strive for anything she may want. She already has a bazillion and five things keeping her back; starting from living in a developing country, economic prospects of early marriage, and the lack importance seen in girls education. I do not want finances to be part of her reasons.
A little bit about my host sister Somalis or as we like to call her Lys. She is a 16 year old ball of fire with a heart of gold. She loves being surrounded by friends, dreaming of superstar boy bands, singing in the bucket bathroom and painting her nails every color of the rainbow. Sounds similar to a lot teenage girls huh? She is also a determined young lady who wants to be able to support her parents as a teacher or a midwife. She studies every hour of everyday, and within a year of living with me with has learned to speak English almost fluently. She has been my life savior when I couldn't speak a lick of Khmer, and she even takes two hours a day to volunteer teaching english to the primary school children with me because she says " She wants everyone to have the chance to learn english to have better jobs like she will."
There is just a minor catch, something even she doesn't know. There is not any extra money for her to study at University after high school. Her father makes $120 per month. After food, water, electricity, clothes, and just life, there is nothing left to save. When she sits on my bed rambling about her life goals, and promising me "she doesn't want a boyfriend till after she studies" with a huge toothy grin, it breaks my heart thinking about how they will break the news to her in one more year. Without money for university she will be sent to make clothes at the local factory like her two older sisters. I have racked my brain trying to figure out ways to help her. There aren't any jobs for teenagers in my village, and scholarships are limited and only offered to students in private schools in cities. In order to study a full four years she only needs $2,000. Having a degree can increase her salary from $100 dollars to $300 dollars a month. Her chances of
having an arranged marriage before the age of 18 years old drop dramatically. Her future opens up to many possibilities that can give her a greater chance for a safer, stable, healthier future.
My goal is to raise $2,000 before Christmas in order to present her with the gift of education. If I could give her the money myself I promise would! So I am writing for your help. Even if I can reach 2,000 people who donate one dollar she will be good! Anything you can give will help. I have been brought into this amazing family that has taken me in as a daughter, and in true Khmer traditional I would like to help my family as much as I can, even if that means giving my last bowl of rice.
Stay tuned for more updates. I have a feeling this young lady is going to impact many more people that we haven't even met yet.