Following the long school holiday break, the Phuket International Women’s Club (PIWC) has begun assessments for its 2016 scholarship programme.
The club, now in its third decade, provides education support for children from less privileged backgrounds, monitoring their scholastic progress and awarding additional scholarships each year to a new group of students.
“Earlier this week we caught up with some of our younger students, who are already receiving awards, to find out how they were doing,” says Scholarship Chairman K. Wipa Tanmanatragul, “We like to know if all is well, what their plans for the future are and any other self-support initiatives they are involved in. Our Scholarship Committee is heavily involved to ensure the students are working satisfactorily to reach their potential. If any of them have let their grades fall below the required minimum we like to know why, and if it is a family problem we try to help them through this and encourage them to stick with it.”
At Satree Phuket School and Phuket Wittyalai the committee met up with 23 programme students, with further interviews to come.
A special mention goes to K. Weerayat from Phuket Vocational College who has just won the prestigious “Princess Scholarship” for all round excellence in all aspects of life. HRH Princess Sirindhorn herself will award the certificate, a very special pin and a cash reward, which will help him in his further studies. The Mövenpick Hotel has, through the PIWC, sponsored Weerayat for the last three years.
Four who have just graduated are going on to study medicine, interior design, logistics and business management at the university level. Another is hoping to become an architect.
“This is the fun part, because we can see how confident these young people have become and we love to hear of their dreams and aspirations,” K. Wipa said.
“They have all come so far from the shy and nervous students who presented themselves at their initial interviews and told us their sad stories.”
Following the assessment of current scholarship holders, interviewing will begin for the 2016 intake, with K. Wipa describing it as “a sad and difficult job for the committee.”
She added: “There are always more applicants than we can support and how can you choose between the kid who is living on his own in a shack with his siblings, or the one who has to look after bedridden parents who are unable to work.
“Some are helping grandma make som tam before school, getting up at 4am. A family could be living on B8,000 a month selling noodles, but the children always get to school with a clean uniform and a bright smile. Who can make those choices?
“We are grateful to our fund-raising team, who work tirelessly throughout the year making this possible, and to our donors and sponsors.
“Sometimes it might look like we are ‘Ladies Who Lunch’; in a way we are, but it is for a purpose and without the lunches and social events we would not be able to raise the funds to do what we do through the scholarship program.
“We would like to invite anyone who is interested to attend our annual scholarship presentation on August 17 at Satree Phuket School, where all those we support come together for a day.
“There will be many former awardees present – doctors, nurses, teachers – who come along to help. Donations are always appreciated by both the PIWC and the students being assisted to better opportunities in life to a better life through education.”
Information about the event and other PIWC activities can be found at www.piwc-phuket.com or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org