College-Bound Refugee to Study Chemistry at UCSD
The gift of education is the best thing to give refugees on the path to becoming self-sufficient, productive citizens. Volunteers who connect with a child or adult can literally change a life. We are grateful for our volunteers like Donmienne, herself a newcomer from Hong Kong, who dedicated hours of her time to help Paw, a young refugee from Burma.
Paw’s Story: “I came to the U.S. in 2008. It was hard making the transition here but I heard about RefugeeNet where I could get help with homework and go to summer camp. My parents signed me up and since then, my grades started to improve. Donmienne and Judy are two of the mentors who have tutored me weekly. Being part of the tutoring program and with the help of my mentors I was able to take advantage of opportunities such as joining the Art Cultural Exchange (ACE). I transferred to Civic High at the downtown library. My mentors helped me apply for college scholarships. I am going to UCSD next fall on a full scholarship and hope to major in Chemistry. RefugeeNet impacted my life in a very positive way. From the start, I was able to understand my classes and see my grades improve. That inspired me to keep doing better in school and to challenge myself academically to seek more knowledge and learn new things.”
Donmienne’s Story: “I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Melbourne, Australia at the age of twelve. I had to adapt to a new country quickly. Although I learned English in Hong Kong, it was not an easy transition. I worked hard and obtained my PhD in chemistry. I now work as a research adviser in a pharmaceutical company. Our company hosted a day of service in 2008 and that was when I first learned about RefugeeNet. I knew how difficult it was to move to a foreign country and I wanted to help kids. I became a tutor at the Thursday program for middle and high school kids and met Paw there. I remember working with Paw and noticing she was one of the most dedicated and hardest working kids there. We started first with just reading and then we moved on to science. We worked on scholarship applications and speeches for competitions. She was one of those kids that tried to do her homework herself instead of having the tutors do the work. I really felt that I could help her with just a little push. I am so proud of her!”
Deborah’s Story: “I’m the tutoring program coordinator. Paw stood out early on though she was rather timid at first. She always came to the tutoring program with homework and when she arrived, she scanned the room in search of the volunteer who could best help her with her assignment. We all knew she was a serious student, but what distinguished her early on was her eagerness to volunteer for anything and everything, taking advantage of opportunities for optional activities, events, and field trips. She joined clubs after school, learned to play an instrument and studied her cultural dances. Paw participated in all of the RefugeeNet and The Bishop’s School’s summer cultural exchange programs. It’s been my pleasure to see her flourish into a young leader who now shines as an example of what is possible with hard work and the desire to succeed.”