Towards the end of January this year, the very first recipient of our scholarship program – SAY Langports, arrived at Sydney airport. My wife, Susie and I were there to meet him. We were so excited, waiting to meet Trong and to welcome him to the Langports Family.
Trong came from Vietnam and was 19 years old. For the last 5 years, he had lived in the care of Blue Dragon, a centre operating in Hanoi to support orphaned, abandoned and homeless children. www.bluedragon.org
Trong came from a poor family in the country. He was 7 years old when his mother died and his father abandoned him. His Aunty, who was already raising four children of her own without her husband, took him in. After a few years, Trong saw that his Aunty could not support him any longer, so he headed off to the big city of Hanoi to support himself.
Sleeping on the streets, Trong did anything that he needed to, to survive. Survival was his only objective, he could see no future for himself and education certainly was not an option any more.
At the age of 12, Trong was found sleeping a riverboat in the middle of the Hanoi River and was taken to Blue Dragon. He was given food and accommodation, and after a while was encouraged to go back to school. He finished high school when he was 19 years old.
The Langports Foundation had been supporting the great work of Blue Dragon for a number of years and were confident that they could be a reliable partner to support their scholarship program – SAY Langports.
I have seen many students over the 30+ years that I worked with language schools, benefit from their experiences of living overseas, and the longer their experience was the more they benefited.
Obviously, they reached a higher level of English proficiency, but they also learnt many things about themselves and about others, that would prove even more valuable in their future. They became confident, independent and self- assured. They learnt to appreciate other cultures and to understand the value of human relationships. They completed the program as better people and with improved life opportunities ahead.
Of course to study abroad is expensive and only an option for the privileged few. The objectives of SAY Langports, is to give this experience to those who would benefit greatly but could never be able to afford it themselves, by funding all travel, accommodation, study and living expenses.
Trong is the first recipient of The Langports Foundation scholarship and I am pleased to report that he has been an amazing success. Next month we’ll tell you more about Trong’s experiences at Langports Sydney.