The Jessica Smith Scholarship Fund is a simple but effective program that provides opportunities for Children at Risk in the Philippines who can’t afford further education.
Fr Shay Cullen started the Jessica Smith Scholarship Fund with a personal gift of 3,000 euros and oversees the program. He explained, “Yes, I look on them as ‘Jessica’s Kids’. This is what she would have been doing. Working in the developing world. Giving life into the future for kids that would otherwise end up on the dumpsite of humanity. Now they have a bright future – and their children also.”
Fr Shay Cullen told us that the program is doing well, with no drop outs. He explained, “The goal is to empower the youth and give them a sense and appreciation for the value of life, the environment, and a love of justice and dignity. There is no better way to educate children than to make it a holistic education and a joyous experience of life. They will feel connected to the world around them and have a thirst for knowledge and action in helping other people in need.”
After the success of the Scholarship Fund, Fr Shay is helping us to develop the Jessica Smith Training Centre to enable students to achieve their potential, and to provide accommodation for students living in remote areas who can’t travel to school or afford the high cost of living in the city.
This program is in memory of Jessica Smith, the eldest daughter of Danny Smith, the founder of Jubilee Campaign.
Fr Shay Cullen is an Irish Columban missionary who went to the Philippines in 1969 and founded the Preda Foundation. He has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize and received numerous awards as a pioneering advocate for children’s rights including International Person of the Year in 2008 by the RTE national television station of Ireland. His autobiography Passion and Pain has been commended by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, and Hollywood star Martin Sheen, who called Fr Shay ‘a very powerful inspiration’.www.preda.org