This is Ocha, she's 17 years old and she's part of the Foundation 18 family in Indonesia. Ocha has just finished senior high school with the highest possible rankings across the board. She's smart, funny, courageous, studious and ambitious. She's everything I ever wanted my Bali family to be.
Seven years ago when I started the orphanage I made the decision to focus primarily on girls, because they were so poorly under-represented in senior education. We changed that. We created an environment where all girls in our village have the same access to education as their male peers. This is something I am incredibly proud of.
It hasn't all been up to me. These girls have had to work hard to stay in school. Make sure they put in the effort and maintain their grades. Ocha has achieved far beyond what anyone could have asked for her. Now Ocha would very much like to go to University. AND without much consideration for the costs involved, I've said "of course she can!"
I'm sharing Ocha's photo with her permission. I don't usually share pictures of our children because we respect their privacy. We believe kids have a right to a happy, healthy, safe environment and shouldn't have to beg to survive. Ocha would really love to be a doctor and as much as I would love to say, "YES! Here's $50,000, go study hard and do us proud" I don't have $50,000 to give her.
So we're going to start at the beginning and just aim for $5,000 enough to get her into University and studying. Enough to start her on the path towards maybe some day becoming a doctor.
Ocha was only 10 years old when we first met. She was a fresh-faced, shy but cheeky girl. Courteous, kind, compassionate. When I started the orphanage I asked the Foundation manager, Alit, to promise me that he would do one thing above all else. I asked him to promise me he would make sure those girls knew they could be anything they wanted to be. It goes against their entire belief in the caste system. It goes against centuries of male dominance. But he agreed.
He's done an amazing job, now we need to prove it's true.
Please help me send this beautiful young woman to University!
- Emily Geraghty
- Leoni Marshall
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- Kara Smith
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