Let’s hear from Zeleen, our youngest volunteer on board. In 2018, she has applied to join our team as a volunteer when she saw our advertisement as a 16-year-old. Though she was underaged, PeopleStories decided to take her in as embracing ‘inclusiveness’ means we include people who are underaged but share the same belief. Of course, Zeleen’s parents were involved in the initial journey.
Recently, PeopleStories has produced 2 scholars who passed the exam to attend a STEM school. Zeleen is very proud of them. She gushed, “I think that they are awesome! Whether they know it or not, they have become possibility-models to other students who are dreaming of achieving the same for themselves. I sincerely hope that they will be happy studying in their new schools, making close friends and special memories!”
She believes that to have a meaningful learning experience, one should enjoy the process and not the destination. She revealed, “I have been single-mindedly pursuing as for most of my school years that I’ve let the other more meaningful things slip me by, such as spending more time cultivating close friendships, taking up leadership opportunities and having the courage to be myself. Instead of focusing on what I was doing in my school years, I wished I had focused more on who I am and who I can be in the future.”
Other than that, she has also been listening to audiobooks as she knits. These days she is listening to the Conversations with God series.
Since this is the month of the International Women’s Day, who is the most inspiring woman for Zeleen? She replied, “It has to be my mom! She has gone through her own set of struggles bringing the three of us sisters up. Her family is all in China, so she had few people she could rely on when we were all so young and she had so much to do. Also, she gave me life, what could be more inspiring than that?”
What is Zeleen’s vision of being ‘inclusive’ for the students in rural schools? In her words, “I would like to work with them to dream up the type of education that they would like to receive, and make it happen. These include the subjects they would like to learn, the experiences that they would want to have in school, whether they want school uniforms and how they would want it to look like and also how they want their schools to look like, I want them to have a strong say in what they want their education to be like. I guess, in other words, I would like us to reform the entire education system together.”
We hope that we would soon get a chance to visit the schools in rural Cambodia to make these happen. In the meantime, here’s her message for them, “I want them to believe so strongly that they totally deserve to have quality education and the ability to achieve whatever dreams they may have. I would also like to wish them so much love and strength in their lives.”