In my country, New Zealand, the Government has just been handed a damning report on child poverty and the document makes disappointing reading for a nation that once, literally, led the world in child care and education standards. So hardship has been part of the public conversation recently – though notably, the topic is absent from the various Ministers responsible for child care. They walk a narrow road and appear happy to step over those in need.
But in the midst of this context, this public debate about poverty Savong emailed me with a photo of a young woman who resides not far from the school her runs in Bakong, Cambodia. “Brother,” he asked. “Can we support her with a university scholarship. She wants to study for a degree.”
At first when I looked at the photo my reaction was – wow, she already has a laptop – but it was only then that I noticed she was tapping the keypad with her feet, and that she lacks hands and arms: through a birth defect. What unimaginable hardship. Every sentence is a labour of love for her.
Savong’s request also came in the context of some recent discussions we’ve had about the goals and objectives of his school and scholarship programme. These remain: to help poor rural students to reach their potential and to help them achieve positive, fulfilling employment.
Yes, we are also trying to run the school and the scholarships to a tight budget (and we know we cannot serve every needy person in Cambodia,) but now you have met this young woman, and when you hear her desire to attend university and to complete a degree: when you hear that, and you examine your organisation’s objectives – how can you just walk away?
Tomorrow Savong is interviewing her in-depth to work out her needs and her details. She is from a poor family and somewhere along the line has found a supporter who gave her the laptop. But in principle the decision has already been made. There is just no way we can morally walk away from her.
This is the new paradigm of charitable work in the internet age. Years ago we used to be told of “the starving millions” and at school we felt remote from this sea of needy humanity. But today the needs, and the personalities of those who need help are a mouse-click away.
The other consequence of our highly connected world, where you are now just two degrees away from this young woman, is that she is now part of your life. I don’t in any way mean to objectify her, or to lay a guilt trip on you – far from it. But the road we travel individually is now the internet highway. We meet more people experiencing the extremes of life. Do we merely step over them?
I’m hoping you can stop a moment and consider helping her achieve her mighty goal. Contact me and we can put you more closely in touch so that your can personally sponsor her progress. firstname.lastname@example.org
You can make an immediate PayPal donation if you like. CLICK HERE.
For moe about how out scholarship scheme works: CLICK HERE.