Vantha’s Scholarship 101: How does the JWOC Scholarship Program really work?

August 14, 2016
Hello, my name is Vantha Kuon. I’m the Scholarship Program and Office Manager and I’ve been working with JWOC since 2009; It has been more than 7 years now, but it still seems like yesterday to me. In 2009 I started with JWOC serving as a Bookkeeper and project assistant. At that time, I assisted in all JWOC project activities when they required my help, working in and outside the office with the local community. It was my first experience working within an organization; it was my dream job when I was studying at high school!
I am extremely excited to be a part of all of JWOC’s programs, especially scholarship program; I am lucky enough to see how the program can change the students’ life for the better. From working with them when they start their scholarship as they enter the big wide world, to helping them face life’s many problems, to understanding the value of working and giving back to their community before graduating.
What each student can learn, what they can share and what they can do for their community through JWOC’s programs makes them feel the words “Learning today, Leading tomorrow” in their hearts. They not only support their community but also their nation.

I would like to share with you the scholarship recruitment process so all of you can see how JWOC is taking on new students who need help from us to achieve their future dreams. The JWOC scholarship program is open for all students from both in Siem Reap and other Cambodian provinces. 

We make announcements to the local high schools, NGOs, in different districts of Siem Reap, through our social media and old and new JWOC operating areas. The students who wish to apply will come and collect the application forms for themselves and for their friends and relatives. We also put the application form online so it can reach those students who may face difficulty in travelling to JWOC as they live far from Siem Reap city. The application form includes questions that give us information about their family, education, career experience and their dreams.
The application forms and subsequent interviews are the first opportunity for JWOC to get to know the student’s ambitions in depth and to see which applicants require a scholarship to help them grow and have the willingness to give back to our local community. To just see their application would not be enough for us to decide which students are suitable and need help from us, so we meet face to face and understand their real motives and ambition to further their education and careers. We then talk to their references; these can include their village chief (who knows/understands their family background and current situation), their teacher and/or their employer to gain an understanding of their attitude and characteristics towards working. The final step of the process is visiting the student’s family in their home town; this ensures we are definitely handing the opportunity to the right students and families.
You can see photos from our scholarship program recruitment process below:

Scholarships are advertised in local villages
Interviewing an applicant at JWOC
On the way to a home visit
Meeting with the student’s family
Another family visit
Being a JWOC scholarship student means not just the chance to study at university but also to receive support and capacity building to develop knowledge and skills as well; examples of training we conduct include: personal goal setting, using the internet efficiently, career training (how to find a job, CV writing and interview techniques, stress management).We also work one on one with each student to provide personal problem consulting, helping them to stand up and deal with any problems (whether in university or elsewhere) and make sure they do not give up! 

This extra support really helps them to become stronger and stronger from day to day, molding them into adults and helping them to fit into the job market. Everything that we do in our scholarship program tries to make our students feel as though JWOC is their second home and family; we always stand behind them and support them.  

Over the past 10 years we have had 123 students graduate from our scholarship program, these students have gone on to all manners of success in their life. Some students continue to give back to their community through their personal careers and businesses, others are working in the education sector as teachers and school directors to share their skills and knowledge with the next generation, and some are working in different types of NGO, helping their community through their programs and others are working in the different sectors.

JWOC’s Local Advisory Board was formed in 2015 and is made up of our scholarship alumni; they meet with us every quarter to spend their valuable time to work with and connect JWOC and our scholarship students with real opportunities for growth throughout the Siem Reap community.

I, myself really don’t have the words to describe the value that our Scholarship program is giving to the community and the amazing support of each and every sponsor. This approach is really a transformative opportunity that teaches people how to support themselves, their family and their community, not just a handout for them to live. This really inspires me to continue working hard with scholarship program so I can see my people and my community develop and grow.
On behalf of current and graduated scholarship students, I really appreciate all the support from our sponsors; it means so much to all Cambodian students and communities. All of this would not be possible without your support.

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