by Carl Hanson, CWEF board chairperson
Many people have noted that working for CWEF is more like being a part of a family rather than an organization. This sentiment is especially evident when we see people leave CWEF after many years of faithful service. Ms. Persephone James, who served CWEF for over two years as our third full-time Executive Director and after an even longer time as interim Executive Director, Board Member and Director of Fund Development, is now back in the US following God’s calling on her life.
What I appreciated about Ms. James most was the level of dedication she made to CWEF, and even more the level of dedication she drew out of others, including myself. She never tired of encouraging us to do more and do it well. Under her leadership CWEF, was able to navigate tremendous change and do so with grace and faithfulness to the core values that have been at the heart of all of CWEF’s work since its foundation.
CWEF really is a family, a learning community. We grow together as we learn more about each other and the people we seek to serve. Together we learn how to overcome the natural obstacles that are a part of everyday life by building one another up and the communities where we work. While we are all different, we are stronger together as we learn together how to appreciate the gift that God has made of each of our lives for the purpose of serving our neighbor. While Ms. James has returned to the US in order to care for family, please join me in thanking her for her dedicated service and in wishing her all of God’s blessings in all the new endeavors He has entrusted her to do.
In January 2016, CWEF staff established a literacy program at Sna Kandal primary school in Tboung Khmum province, Cambodia. The goal of the program is not only to help students improve their reading and writing in Khmer but to improve their overall learning quality through literacy.
When the literacy program was established in January, more than 90 percent of the 35 students in the program could not read even one sentence in a story book. With the resources and literacy mentor provided by CWEF, most of the students showed improvement in their reading and writing and nearly half of the students were at grade level by the end of the year.
In November, CWEF staff met with the literacy mentor and the students and asked them to share some of the great changes they saw in themselves. One of the participants, Chat Sreynuon, told the CWEF staff before she joined the literacy program she could not read and would only look at the pictures in the school library books. She was happy to report, she now enjoys reading and can read the school library books without difficulty.
CWEF will continue to support the students at Sna Kandal primary school as the literacy program enters its second year.
In celebration of the continued partnership with Target International and United Way Worldwide, CWEF staff were invited to present about the scholarship program at the Target International headquarters in Shenzhen.
Over the past seven years, Target International has provided an annual grant through United Way Worldwide for 50 high school scholarships in Guangdong province. Not only does the grant cover the tuition costs of these 50 female students, but also provides support through the annual career workshop facilitated with volunteers from Target.
CWEF is thankful for the continued partnership of Target International and United Way Worldwide as together we invest in the future of young women in Guangdong Province.