Mark, the soon to be chef (GRADUATED! - Dip in Culinary Arts, Flamingo College)

12 June 2015

Mark* standing proud with his other classmates as they celebrate their graduation in the graduation ceremony

After being with us for about 9 years, we are blessed to see Mark graduating with a Diploma in Culinary Arts.

When Mark was hardly about 10 years old, he was staying with his grandfather. Mark’s mother remarried as her former husband was a gambler and was in huge debts with the loan sharks. She was not able to raise Mark by herself as times were hard for her. She had no choice but to leave him with his grandfather. When she found out that Mark was doing construction work with his grandfather, she knew that Brandon’s future would not be bright if he continued to live with his grandfather.

She had a very difficult choice to make but she knew that life would be better for Mark; so she sent him to us.

We sent him to school, monitored his grades and hired private tutors to help him with his education. We also sent him for music lessons, arranged a volunteer to teach him how to play the guitar. One of the staff at our Home also constantly advised him and she would often involve him with the cooking when he was in Shelter 3. That is where Mark got interested in cooking and was inspired to be a chef someday.

After passing SPM, we helped him secure a PTPTN loan and helped to top up his monthly allowance as his mother was unable to provide for him. A staff was assigned to ‘walk with him’ throughout his college years and would visit him monthly to ensure that he was alright in every aspect especially in his studies.

With so many wonderful individuals that came along in his life, from the Home managers, Home staff and volunteers and of course the sponsors, today, Brandon has graduated with a Diploma. Mark went on to work for a number of restaurants after that. At one of the restaurants, he was even asked to design the menu of the restaurant!

He once shared this to the worker who was journeying with him when he was still doing his Diploma, "When I met my mother again after finishing SPM, I was very, very angry with her as I find it so hard to forgive her for leaving me in a home. But now that I am where I am, I understand why she chose to do that. I saw my other older brother who stayed with her and how he couldn't even speak basic English or had any opportunity to study. But because I was in SHELTER, I had all these opportunities. While I am thankful she did that, I am still on my journey in forgiving her."

Today, Mark has took a huge step. He has actually started his own catering business and we are all happy for him.

*the name has been changed to protect his identity

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