Families and leaders in the Ranong Community gathered to honor the commitment and educational achievement of their Burmese Migrant Young Leaders gaining a University Qualification.
Speaking on behalf of all the graduates, Leah War War shared just how profound the achievement and the academic journey has been for them over the past 14 months.
“We are migrants who are economic refugees in Thailand. One day, we heard how Australian Catholic University was offering opportunities for all people from Myanmar regardless of ethnicity or religion. This gave us a chance to improve our lives and most importantly gave us hope.”
She shared with everyone gathered that the graduating students all felt it was like a dream becoming true.
“Before we studied at Australian Catholic University our hopes were dimly seen and our dreams were just dreams. We worried about our poor broken English and were afraid that the courses would be too difficult for us.”
“In just over a year we are amazed at how much we have improved. Our English is so much better in writing, listening, reading and speaking. We have also become much better critical thinkers. Now we can think like the limitless sky.”
On behalf of the Marist Mission Ranong Team and especially the tutors involved in supporting their studies, Maurice Atkinson, a Volunteer and Tutor with Marist Mission Ranong, spoke personally to each of the students and shared the sense of joy the whole community felt in the transformation that has taken place in the graduates.
“When I look upon the smiling faces of our graduates I am filled with a sense of pride.”
He shared the memory of the first days of the Diploma course: “You were all so nervous, you were very reluctant to speak.”
“Many of you were even apologetic, you kept saying that you were sorry that your English was ‘no good’ and when you were asked difficult questions some of you would just shake your head and say ‘I’m broke (meaning not knowing much) teacher’.
“I sincerely hope this morning that when you put on your graduation gown and looked at yourself in the mirror you realised you were wrong. You are confident, you are competent, you are a success!”
The Diploma in Liberal Arts involved learning in Communication, Management, International Development, English, and studies in Human Rights and Environmental studies. All of these studies have helped many of the graduates of the past few years find work with Non Governmental Organisations.
Marist Mission Ranong continues to benefit from the talents, gifts and academic achievments of its graduates who continue to work in the Education, Health and Migrant Support Programmes here in Ranong.
This Australian Catholic University Diploma course is like a candle that provides light and knowledge creating a brighter future for us all”
Leah War War – Graduation Speech November, 2013
Special Thanks to Maurice and Natalie Atkinson, and Lin McMaster – our MMR Diploma Studies Tutors.