Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Warning: Cutestorm

I am working on outreach materials for approaching corporate sponsors - My job this month is to figure out how ADAPT can expand vocational training services. Chi Thao just sent me some exceptionally cute pictures of scholarship recipients, below, and I included a story about one of them. The pictures of the girls are all from scholarship awards ceremonies, when they get all the materials and supplies they need for the school year. ADAPT pays for all required fees, uniforms, supplies, books, backpacks, and a bike to get to school if its a long way.

In the fall of 2006, Mỹ, an ADAPT scholarship recipient, dropped out of school despite having access to everything a student needs. When ADAPT visited her to follow up, she was working with her mother washing dishes, earning $19 per month. Though only a 6th grader, Mỹ told her mother: "I am going to work to pay back some of the family debt, and then I am going back to school." Sadly, $19 a month is not enough to lift her family out of poverty. The only real chance they have would be for Mỹ to graduate from secondary school, to a higher wage rate. Unfortunately, Mỹ didn't think this way, nor did her family.

ADAPT staffers traveled by motorbike for more than two hours in the rain to her house, bringing a school official, a women's union representative, and her schoolteacher to demonstrate to Mỹ's parents the depth of concern for her. By the end of the visit, Mỹ, with her mother's permission, promised to go back to school. The community also rallied support, promising her family a low-interest loan to buy a motorbike so Mỹ's father can earn a living transporting goods for other villagers.

We saw Mỹ at the following scholarship delivery ceremony—she had kept her word and was heading back to school. Soon after, her mother was diagnosed with cancer and had no financial means to seek treatment. One ADAPT staff member personally raised funds and helped the mother received treatment in Ho Chi Minh City. Currently, Mỹ’s mother has recovered and has returned home. We recently saw Mỹ walking hand in hand with other classmates on her way home. Her bright smile showed her happiness of being able to continue to go to school, play with friends, and develop her dreams.

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