ASSIST A STUDENT V O LUME 1 , I SSUE 1
SUPPORTER NEWSLETTER whelming, yet at the same time it spoke volumes for the high regard with which they view the assistance being afforded them. For them, this was an opportunity to say ‘thank you’. I felt honoured to be representing you, the supporters of Assist a Student. One student I met had been supported by Assist a Student for ten years. She told me that she was so happy because she had recently completed her final high school exams and was now awaiting her results. She dreams of becoming a doctor, so that she can help others in her small community. That dream is very close to fruition and she made it clear that she had no doubt that the assistance from the Assist a Student program and the encouragement of the local Vincentians were integral in facilitating her ambitions. I met her father who spoke little English, but it didn’t matter because the smile on his worn face and the tears in his eyes
A beneficiary of an Assist a Student scholarship in her home town
Dear Supporter, on a recent visit to countries supported through the Assist a Student program, I was again reminded of the direct and tremendous benefits the program gives to the students and their families. I was taken to visit many schools and small communities where Assist a Student exists and the St Vincent de Paul Society has a presence. At each venue, I was given a very warm welcome. The students and their parents went to every length to make me feel comfortable. The very little they had, they shared with me. At times their hospitality was over-
Distribution of funds 2005 / 2006 In the past 12 months a record 4,205 students were assisted. Your donations were distributed as follows:
2007 said it all. He said “thank you sir” and I felt an overwhelming sense of pride - not only as a Vincentian, but as an Australian. I told the many students I met, that you, their supporters in Australia, would wish for nothing more than for them to take the opportunity with both hands. All we want is for the beneficiaries to make the most of their opportunity to be educated and give their dreams a chance to be fulfilled. Thank you for helping that happen. James Lee, Assist a Student team
A parent’s struggle to provide I recently sat with parents of Assist a Student beneficiaries on a visit overseas. They spoke of their struggle to put food on the table for their children, often going without themselves. They found immense joy in knowing that their child had an opportunity to be educated, an opportunity denied to them. They spoke of the constant search for employment, no matter how menial it was. At times they had to keep their children home from school so they could assist in doing tasks that allowed the family to survive on a daily basis. In all this there was a strong belief that once their children were educated things would improve for them. They knew that their children appreciated the sacrifices they were making and were overjoyed that we (Assist a Student) were able to assist in a very practical way. Br Doug Walsh, National Projects Officer
ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA. ABN: 68 879 107 149.
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Khop Khun Mak · Mehrbani · Jae Zu Din Da De · Danyavad · Salamat The only one Society which helps to the poor people and not to consider their community and religion is St Vincent De Paul Society. Thanks and best wishes to you for your contribution of money for my much required Assist a Student Scholarship. Linto - India, aged 16
Where we assist students I thank the people who assist the St Vincent de Paul Society student program. I have a list of students and the Principal of the School has used the funds to pay their school fees. Consequently they are still studying and participating in sports and dancing and music: the last activities are important in an island where there is little chance of employment.
My name is Panya, I am studying in Secondary 2 grade. I would like to thank you for your giving me scholarship. I will pay much attention to my study. I am now living with my Grandpa and Grandma who are in very poor health. My Dad and Mum died of Aids. On weekends I had to go ploughing land to earn some money. I will use the money given with great care. I promise that I will be a good student and a good citizen for the nation. May Almighty God bless all of you for your good health, prosperity and a place of my refuge always. Respectfully yours, Panya - Thailand, aged 13
Some of these students have a Junior St Vincent de Paul Group. It meets each week and listens to reports. Two teachers meet with him and coordinate their efforts to give help. A few of the group have no home: they live in the maneaba, the meeting house of a village, and have no privacy. Thank you for helping them. Fr Albert - Kiribati
In our house we are all happy! My mum is fine although sometimes she gets sick. My Dad was not able to work recently because of the heavy rain and storms. But we always pray for our safety and good health. About my studies, I am going fine. Sometimes high school is difficult but I realised that it can be easier if you study hard. Being a high school student is not easy all the time but it is fun. Thankyou and God bless you. Christelyn - Philippines, aged 12
EDITOR’S NOTE: For most of the students assisted by this program, English is their second language. These letters have been left in the writer’s English to show the effort each writer has made to convey their thanks to all who support this program. Further information about Assist a Student can be found at:
Despite all of the hardships that I am facing right now, at least I have you, people of great heart that help me carry on and give me strength and support to stand up and fight the hard life. I will not forget your kindness you have given to me. I have nothing to repay you back only a promise to use your money at highest benefits to my life. I would like to thank you for the chances that you have given to me. Mariano - Indonesia, aged 14 WWW.VINNIES.ORG.AU
Terima kasih · Tangeyoo · Ko rabwa · Shukriya · Sulang · Bhala Hove My mother is trying to help my sisters and I have an education at school. My brother died from a sickness. My other brother died as well. Now we are only girls. Sister told us that St Vincent de Paul Society wanted to help us go to school. We were very happy. You are helping me and my sister too. Thank you for all you are giving to us. It is very good. It makes my mother very happy. Silvia - East Timor, aged 8
It is because of you that I feel happy to have a school uniform and that I can attend our school. It is very good for me and I work very hard at my studies. I want to keep going. Thank you my good friend. Raja - Vanuatu, 9
I was very much worried about continuing my further study, without money. Members of St Vincent De Paul Society approached me voluntarily and helped me with Assist a Student Scholarship. I never forget such a great help in my life. Thank you very much. Ramya - Myanmar, 12
My father is sick. So, he is not able to do any work. This money, which I received through the St Vincent De Paul Society was very much useful to purchase a uniform dress, note books and text books. Thanks a lot to you, the St Vincent De Paul Society. Sijo - Papua New Guinea
Greetings of peace and love of Christ be with you. My family and I are fine and I do hope that you are fine by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am Hinna and I am from Pakistan. My mother is a school teacher and my father is a sanitary worker. I have five siblings. I have completed my year 11 and I want to continue my study. Due to financial difficulties, it is hard for my parents to support all the children in their education. I would like to thank the St Vincent de Paul Society for the support. I want to thank you for taking a keen interest in the Christian students of Pakistan, who are facing many difficulties in their everyday lives. I do pray to God that he may shower his blessings upon you so that you may continue this great work. Hinna - Pakistan, aged 18
Yes, I want to Assist a Student today I am an individual assisting a student; OR I am assisting a student on behalf of a group Name (of Group or individual): _______________________ Contact name (for Group): __________________________ Contact phone Number: ____________________________ Address: ________________________________________ Suburb: ______________ State: _____ Postcode: _______ Email: __________________________________________
$70 $140 $210 OR $ ____________ My cheque is enclosed, payable to “St Vincent de Paul Society” or Debit my credit card:
Expiry __ / __
Name on card: _______________________________________ Signature: __________________________________________ Thank you for your support. All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible. You will receive a receipt, certificate of appreciation per $70 and an annual newsletter for your generosity. I would like to know about making a regular annual donation to Assist a Student. Please send me information.
Contact information for your State or Territory can be found at:
Focus on Pakistan Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is located in South Asia that overlaps with the Greater Middle East. It shares borders with Afghanistan, Iran, India and China, and is the sixth most populous country in the world. 96% of the population are Muslim, 0.5% are Catholic. Few westerners know much about Pakistan beyond media impressions of Islamic fundamentalism, communal violence and martial law, but it is a country that contains some of Asia's most mind-blowing landscapes, a multitude of cultures and a long tradition of hospitality. Social issues Br Doug Walsh visiting a community supported by the Assist a Student program in Pakistan Pakistan’s government has made a serious commitment to improving social services for jail, spiritual development programs and preparing women and children, spending more than $USD16 children for First Holy communion and confirmation. billion over the past five years on initiatives such as Australia is twinned with Pakistan and through this partuniversal health care, quality education and affordable nership the Society in Australia supports the Assist a housing. However, increases in allocations have been Student program and other projects in Pakistan. unable to keep up with population growth. Literacy is a major concern in some regions. The national literacy rate is 49%, which is low relative to other Asian countries - Philippines (96%), India (64%), Thailand (96%), Myanmar (85%). The literacy rate of females is 35% compared to 62% for males. The Earthquake disaster, October 2005 A catastrophic earthquake struck in northern Pakistan in October 2005, killing 73,000, injuring 70,000 and leaving 3.3 million homeless. The St Vincent de Paul Society donated 3,000 tents, which provided shelter for the homeless during the winter that followed the tragedy. How does the St Vincent de Paul Society operate in Pakistan? The first Conference of the Society reached the shores of Karachi (British India) in 1869. Today there are 168 Conferences across the country. Their main works include home visitation, visitation of the sick, education, providing rations, health care and visiting prisoners in
“Education is the need of the hour in Pakistan. It is only through education that our people will have a bright future as most of the problems here arise from illiteracy. The government has also placed an emphasis on education however help does not always reach the deserving ones. Living in an Islamic State, our help must be restricted to Christian families and that too is on a limited scale because of paucity of funds. The Assist a Student program supported by Australia is very popular in Pakistan and many students have benefited.” - George Anthony, President of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Pakistan Pakistan at a glance … Population (thousands) Life expectancy at birth (years) Under-5 mortality rate (per 1,000 births) Number of phone sets (per 100 people)
154,794 63 101 4
* Statistics from the Unicef website
Frequently Asked Questions Can we choose the student we assist? The students supported are chosen by the St Vincent de Paul Society of our partner countries. We do not interfere with that process. Scholarships are allocated according to needs across the countries to ensure a fair allocation of the funds. How is the scholarship money used? The money enables
Can we have the same student every year? Assist a Student scholarships are allocated according to need.
Can we choose the country of the student? We distribute scholarships as fairly as possible between the partner countries according to the waiting lists and according to need.
students to continue their education or training for one year. It is spent on supporting school or course fees, uniforms, books and materials.
I would like to support a girl, is that possible? To maintain
Are there administration costs? One of the program’s strong-
Why does it take time to receive the certificate? Sometimes it takes longer than expected for the Society in Australia to receive the student names from the overseas country.
est and most attractive goals is that administration costs are kept to an absolute minimum to ensure nothing is deducted from each $70 donation. Therefore, the program is kept as simple as possible.
low administration costs of the program students are randomly matched with donors.
Further questions are answered at www.vinnies.org.au