(London, Ontario) – Fanshawe Falcons golfer, Mery Tarigan, has a unique story that reminds us all to be thankful for the opportunities we are given. Standing at 4'5", Tarigan may be small, but she is creating positive change in big ways.
Tarigan grew up in a small village in Indonesia called Kabanjahe, where her and her four siblings worked on a vegetable farm every day after school. When she was 19 years old, Tarigan had to turn down an academic scholarship offer in order to work to help pay for her brother to go to school.
She went to work as a caddie in Malaysia, which is where her passion for golf began. Tarigan lived in a small house with four other caddies, where there was no furniture except for the bunkbeds. She would make approximately $6 Canadian for a half-day's work, which she would then send back to her family.
When caddying, Mery met Londoners Paul and Janet Tufts, who were working in Malaysia at the time. They saw her potential and wanted to give her the chance to go to school, "I saw how bright she was and also how good of a golfer she was," said Paul Tufts. With her brother finishing school in May 2017, Tarigan was able to do something for herself and pursued her dreams of attending college. At Fanshawe, she successfully completed a year in the ESL program and will continue her education this year in the Golf and Club Management Program.
While attending Fanshawe, Tarigan achieved another dream of hers by becoming a Varsity Golfer. The 26-year-old loves every minute of being a part of the team and is learning quickly from her coaches. "I am thankful for my coaches and my teammates, who are all very nice people and care about me. I feel very lucky."
The feeling is mutual, as Fanshawe Golf Head Coach Colin Robertson, "feels fortunate to have Mery as part of our team. She is a very smart athlete and an even better person, whose story reminds us to appreciate what we have." After finishing in 8th place at her first-ever OCAA Championship, Terigan's competitive spirit is eager to continue to practice golfing and return this season even stronger.
Tarigan's next goal is perhaps her largest yet, "I want to help build a school back in my village", she explained. In 2010, a deadly volcano erupted outside of Kabanjahe, Indonesia, displacing many villagers. She needs to raise $35,000 to complete the development and has organized a golf tournament to help with fundraising. The tournament is on October 13 at Echo Valley. "All I want is to make a child's life better than mine was," explained Tarigan. "I believe a school will do that. A safe and happy school."
– 30 –
Above: Mery with Coach Colin Robertson and 2017 Team
For further information, please contact:
Office: 519-452-4430 x6105