TSF Celebrates 2011 University Graduates
On a recent Sunday in October, over 120 of us gathered in the courtyard of the Roteang village school to celebrate the graduation of our 8 seniors from university. What an amazing day for the graduating university students, their families, their community and all who support TSF and care about their work. Imagine a community gathering of graduates, families, current university students and former students, and TSF’s leaders Elephant and Mom Sary. The day brought tears to our eyes.
The celebration opened with beautiful performances by the orphanage dancers, which included a blessing dance and coconut dance. The children were delighted that they were able to be a part of this event.
After these dances, we heard wonderful student speeches by two graduating seniors: Nuth Sunny and They Rotha. Both of them were poised and articulate (although they said they were nervous). They thanked TSF, their sponsors, their families, and also spoke about how their lives had changed, how they had worked so hard, and learned so much. Rotha challenged the current students to continue their hard work.
When Elephant called each student to the front to receive a TSF diploma, he also asked their parents to join them. Imagine the smiles of pride we saw! Each of these families has had to sacrifice in the short term, having had to give up the much needed labor that this child could provide, to allow their child to attend university.
We are thrilled that once again all of the graduating seniors have found good jobs. Champhearom, who attended Institute for Foreign Languages (IFL), will be working for TSF in the English School. Seka, who also attended IFL, will be deputy director of the Asia International School. Other graduates have jobs with the Cambodian Red Cross, Australian Center for Education, Himawari Hotel, and a retail shop. In Phnom Penh, where the youth unemployment rate is over 20%, this is a great accomplishment.
Every graduate that we spoke to shared not only how proud they were of their new careers but also how important it was to be able to send money home to their families in the village. It is a cultural norm for them to take care of family and the graduates take pleasure in doing so.
TSF encourages all of the students to work hard at their studies. TSF also provides classes at Conversations with Foreigners to enhance English speaking skills. It has developed programs to help each student develop a CV (a resume) and complete an interviewing workshop which includes a video interview. Together, all of these increase the possibilities of success in a very difficult job market. On this day, we saw the culmination of much hard work, and the beginnings of new and successful careers.
No party can be complete without refreshments, so after the ceremony, everyone gathered around for pictures, sodas, and pastry treats. To all of you as supporters of TSF, we thank you for your contributions and hope you will continue your support. You have made an incredible difference in these students’ lives.