Last Sunday, 17th March 2019, saigonchildren hosted its Graduation Ceremony for students of Child Development Scholarship Programme who graduated in the academic year of 2018. There are almost 200 students aged 18-22 who are current beneficiaries of saigonchildren to join the event. On this occasion, Mr. Damien Roberts sent the congratulations to these students and shared his admiration for the journey that these disadvantaged children have overcome to gain achievements today. He also sent his sincere advice for the students before their upcoming journey.
“I want to thank you all for having me here to speak to you today. It is my honour and my pleasure to stand before you successful graduates as you celebrate your incredible achievement and begin the next stage of your journey. Many of you have faced difficult circumstances in your lives and sometimes it did not seem possible to continue in your education, to go to university and then to complete your degree. But you persevered, you worked hard, you overcame your challenges, and now you are here today because you believed in yourselves and did not give up on your dreams.
It is your determination and hard work that will keep taking you forwards and give you the life you want to have. At some point in your life and career, you will face challenges and you may struggle, but you have the experience and positive attitude that will bring success and happiness. I have been a researcher, a university lecturer, a diplomat, and now I run a charity. I never planned to do any of these jobs and yet I loved them all and each experience taught me so much. So, be flexible, be open to new experiences, and be brave. If you are always learning, then you are always growing, and always progressing.
Ask for advice, find a champion, a mentor, a guide for life. Remember – whatever your dream – to run your own business, be an artist, a teacher, a politician – others have walked that path before – so learn from their mistakes so that you do not have to make so many of your own. You will still make mistakes – that is a normal part of life and learning – but do not be disheartened by them, instead learn from them, and you will avoid the same mistakes in the future. And remember, if you cannot get advice from your family, friends or colleagues – you are all part of the saigonchildren family and so you have many more brothers, sister, aunties and uncles who care for you and give you support and advice.
One small piece of advice from me: It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice. Help others. Even if you are the most important person in the room, you will be remembered for how you treat the least important person.
So, as you travel onwards I am sure that your lives will continue to improve and I hope you will have health, prosperity and happiness. If you can, share your success with those around you. Saigonchildren cared and supported you because we believed in you and we knew that you deserved an education and a chance to create a brighter future. You all worked hard to achieve that brighter future, and I hope you will all share it generously with those in need. So, be incredibly proud of what you have already achieved in your lives, be ambitious for what you can achieve in the years ahead, be certain that you can help others along your way, and most importantly, be happy and enjoy the adventure of the life that is in front of you all.”