As many of you know, SYL Foundation began its Lotus scholarship program in 2015 to help immigrant and refugee students attend college. I’m pleased to introduce you to the 2018 Lotus Scholarship recipients that you are helping to turn dreams into reality. I’d like to share with you just one of the students’ journeys to America. Asha wrote this in her essay:
I was born and raised in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, but my family originally came from Ethiopia. Life was not easy in Kakuma. The whole area is a desert, and most of the time people don’t have anything to eat. We slept on mats on the ground, leaving us exposed to snakes and scorpions. Nobody had strong homes with locking doors, so thieves could easily come inside our hut to ask for money. My uncle was killed in front of my eyes when he could not give a thief the money he asked for.
Once, I was bit on my knee by a scorpion. I almost died, but I was lucky, because someone took me to the hospital. Even after taking medicine, I was not able to walk straight, but the doctors didn’t give up on me. They kept trying until I was able to move my leg. The patience and determination of the doctors inspired me deeply.
Though we didn’t have a good life, I never gave up on my education. I went to school on an empty stomach. More than once on the way to school, I was assaulted and beaten up by people who didn’t believe that girls should be allowed to attend school. Most of the girls I knew were raped and beaten if they were seen going to school. Every day when I left home, all I could think about was whether or not I would make it back safely. Some of my friends decided to drop out of school and get married off, but I knew I should stay and continue my education.
In 2015, my family found out we would have a chance to come to the United States. I started going to Franklin High School and participated in many activities, like the Youth Job Readiness Training program at ReWA. As a member of College Access Now and ReWA’s Post-Secondary Success Program, I am learning how to be prepared for college. My dream is to pursue a career in health care. When I was bit by the scorpion in Kakuma, I wasn’t sure if I would ever walk properly again. The doctors who saved my life went above and beyond to make sure I could walk. Their determination has stuck with me and drives me to pursue a healthcare education. I hope to become a nurse one day.
2015年，我的家人得知我們有機會來美國。我開始去Franklin高中上學，並參加了很多活動，身為College Access Now和ReWA機構的成員，我正在學習如何為上大學做好準備。我追求的夢想是以醫療照顧做為我的事業，原因是，當我在Kakuma被蠍子螫到時挽救我生命的醫生堅持治療到我可以走路，他們對我不放棄的決心，一直驅動著我，去就讀醫學教育，希望有一天，我能成為一名護士！