More than Mentors
“By God’s grace, our Communications Ministry (CM) team at Church of Divine Mercy (CDM) was given this opportunity to personally interact with a refugee intern like Joy and develop a beautiful friendship. We have become more aware of God’s presence in everything and in every person,” reflects Tricia. This is the story of a bond of friendship developed through the JRS internship programme.
Joy, 35, together with her 16-year-old son left Zimbabwe for Thailand in 2019 because of political reasons. In Thailand, her life was tough and she struggled to make ends meet. To make matters worse, she was diagnosed with cancer in 2020. She endured chemotherapy treatment and was constantly weak and in pain.
It was during this low period in her life that she enrolled for the JRS digital marketing course because she was very eager to pick up new skills. She also felt that the course could distract her from the pain of her illness as well as the stress of thinking about her life situation. Joy would plan her chemotherapy treatment on Fridays so that she could recover over the weekend and be ready to participate in lessons the following Monday. After the course, she was grateful for a 6-month internship with the CM at CDM from October 2021. This internship opportunity was possible through the connection of Tricia Kat, a JRS volunteer as well as parishioner of CDM. Joy was mentored by CM volunteers, Teri and Rachael to design social media posts for the Church. Rachael’s sister and CM volunteer, Rebecca, also mentored another refugee intern.
Samples of work done by Joy for Church of Divine Mercy.
Rachael (foreground), Rebecca (extreme right) and friends with Joy and her son.
Joy, who was still undergoing chemotherapy during that time, tried her best to complete all her tasks and she was grateful for mentors in the CM who patiently guided her. After the internship period ended, her mentors continued to keep in contact. When Rachael and Rebecca, together with friends from CDM went on a holiday to Bangkok, they finally met up with Joy and her son in person after months of communicating online. They brought Joy and her son out for dinner and shopping at Decathlon.
In Sept 2023, when Joy received the good news that she would be resettled to Canada, her previous mentors and friends at CDM rallied together and sent her a gift to support her move from Thailand to Canada.
Joy was overjoyed at the opportunity to begin a new chapter in life for herself and her son in Canada. She also felt a deep sense of gratitude to those who journeyed with her, “especially the Church of Divine Mercy for praying for me and my family.”
Moved by those who had given their time and blessed her with gifts, Joy shared with us her plans for the future.
“I feel inspired to work in the humanitarian sector. In Thailand, I had no family to look out for me. But I was moved by how people from different organisations came together to help refugees like me survive. Now, I really want to make a difference. I want to make people feel better. Just like how others helped me and made me feel better when I was facing so many difficulties.”