As a little girl, she used to tag along her mother who was tasked to take her cousin to school. During those times, she had a secret wish that she, too, could study. The classrooms fascinated her. What would it be like to learn how to read and write? But her parents could not afford it, so all she could do was just dream about it.
This young girl’s prayer, however, was answered. Claire Kim became a Badjao Bridge scholar. At the age of seven, she was finally able to go to school. Her academic performance speaks of her hunger to learn and excel. From first to seventh grade, she is the top student in her class.
Now 14, Claire has maintained her academic standing. She is also one of our volunteer tutors. She comes almost every afternoon from school to our learning center to teach younger Badjao kids some basic reading skills.
In 2016, she was inspired to see Lorna Cuham, one of our first two Badjao scholars to graduate, walk the stage in her graduation toga. It gave her hope and motivation that she, too, could finish college and one day become a teacher to help her Badjao community especially the children. She also wants to honor and help her family have a better life. She is thankful to her parents for the support despite financial difficulties. And of course, she is deeply grateful to her sponsors.
“Without them, I do not know if I could ever study at all. For this opportunity, I will give my best.”
When asked if there’s anything more she wishes, she smiled shyly and said, “I wish to see my sponsors even just in a photograph. I am so grateful to them that I dream to meet them one day to thank them personally, or at least, have their picture for now. My other fellow Badjao scholars have photos of their sponsors. I wish I have, too.”