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3 July 2008
The Western Union Foundation, in collaboration with HOPE worldwide (Singapore) (HOPEwwS), today awarded education grants worth a total of BN$7,500 to 15 migrant workers working in Brunei.  Each individual grant of BN$500 covers as much as a year’s tuition fees and other necessities like books and uniforms.

Now in its second year, the Western Union Foundation Education Grant program aims to help migrant workers with the financial costs of educating their children.  This year, the 15 winners are migrant workers in Brunei originated from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

HOPE worldwide and The Western Union Foundation have also worked together on the education grants for Singapore and Malaysia to allow more migrant workers’ families to benefit from this program.

Ms Joyce Tan, CEO of HOPEwwS, said: “The program is very well received.  We have short-listed 30 applicants for a more in-depth interview to select the 15 deserving winners. It was a real challenge for the judging panel to determine the final winners as each applicant do have a heartwarming story behind and all of them work very hard here to build a better future for their families.”

Ms Tan added: “We made our decision based on criteria including number and ages of children the applicants have, their marital status, income, etc.  Those who projected heartfelt desire of wanting to further their children’s schooling won our hearts.”

Cedric Dias, Country Director, Singapore and Brunei, Western Union, said: “We started the Education Grant Program two years ago in Brunei because, through our day-to-day transactions with our customers, we learnt that migrant workers who are parents send money home primarily for their children’s education needs. The annual upfront costs of school fees, books and uniforms can add up to a significant amount. Often these parents have to resort to loans from families, or unscrupulous lenders.”

“Experts agree that education is one of the most effective tools for long term alleviation and Western Union is committed to supporting the families of migrant workers. The Western Union Foundation Education Grants are thus practical, immediate and targeted,” Mr Dias added.

The Western Union Foundation Education Grants were open to migrant workers in Brunei from all countries with school-going children.  A total of 30 applications were shortlisted for interviews by a judging panel which included members of both Western Union and HOPEwwS. The final 15 recipients were determined based on criteria including number and ages of children, marital status and income.  The short essay developed by the applicant about why he or she should be selected for the grant has also been taken into consideration.

The Western Union Foundation Education Grants are an initiative of the Western Union Foundation, Western Union’s philanthropic arm. The Western Union Foundation is devoted to facilitating global economic opportunity. Last year, Western Union introduced Our World, Our FamilySM, a US$50 million (BN$68 million), five-year initiative to empower migrant families worldwide, helping them stay connected, overcome barriers, and realize their dreams.
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