Spring 2013 Scholarship Finalist Marshilla Zainal

Marshilla Zainal from Indonesia studying at Douglas College is one of 12 finalists for the ISV Magazine scholarship. Read her essay here!

In my childhood years, I dreamt of becoming some kind of female Mahatma Gandhi, giving back to those who are the most vulnerable and in need. Later on in life, I made the decision of pursuing a career in the Community and Social Services field, with a vision of becoming a Social Worker. This revelation, however, was not an instantaneous one. It took me several diplomas, life-altering events, and career changes to be able to finally be sure of my decision.

Studying in Canada is incredibly helpful for me as it is a country that recognizes the urgent need of social service workers to assist not only the aging population, but also other people in need such as newly landed immigrants, at-risk youths, the queer community, the homeless folks, and many more. Canada also gives excellent-quality education and training to Social Workers and abundant job opportunities. This fact is very different than the situation in my home country. In Indonesia, the term “Social Worker” does not even exist, which makes it unimaginable for me to pursue my passion there.

Being a student at Douglas College, working as the student assistant for the college’s women’s centre, and being active in the local political scene have made my commitment of giving back to the community even stronger. In the future, I am aiming to become a Permanent Resident and to later on apply for a Citizen status. My move here does not only strengthen my career choice, but also give me a whole new life. I flew Indonesia to escape the persecution of gay people and the worsening human rights violations. Living in such an open-minded place such as Vancouver has given me a second chance to live an honest, safe life.

A scholarship to continue my studies will be a substantial help as, currently, my mother is the only one financially supporting my life here. She is a single parent living in a developing country, working very hard to give her daughter a better life. I would very much like to lessen her burden. Although I work part-time, I realize it is not enough to support my tuition. Therefore, this scholarship will not only give my mom and I an unimaginable financial help, but it will also support me in being a social worker committed in giving back and strengthening my community.

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