SILVER SPRING, Md. – In Thailand, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is offering vocational training classes to refugees striving to make ends meets.
Amongst beneficiaries are Na Aye Yin, her husband Kyite Yee, and her two children who fled from her home country of Myanmar to Unpiem Mai refugee camp in Tak, Thailand. Upon arriving to the camp, Na Aye Yin and her family were disappointed to learn they were not on the list to receive free food as part of a national program offered by the Thai government. With no other option, the family resorted to working for other refugees, and using the meager wage to feed their two children.
Shortly after, Na Aye Yin heard about a project called ‘Vocational Training for Refugees from Myanmar’ (VTRM) that would offer courses to residents in the camp vocational skills. The courses offered included sewing, embroidery, welding, elderly and child care, basic auto mechanics, cooking and baking, and hair dressing.
Na Aye Yin made a decision to stop working, and in place attend the first hair dressing class. She was an enthusiastic, hard-working student who enjoyed the class. After completing the initial 150 hour training course, she enrolled for further study in this field through training conducted by the Thai Vocational College, which is partnered with ADRA Thailand.
Equipped with training and her newly acquired skills, Na Aye Yin mustered up the courage to transform part of her bamboo house into a hair salon. The success she gained from this shop convinced her husband, Kyite Yee to also become involved by applying to study hair dressing as well.
Not only have Na Aye Yin and Kyite Yee become self-sufficient with the success of their shop, they are working together to provide free services to income-less refugees in their community. “We want to help others, it gives us greater happiness in our hearts,” said Na Aye Yin.
Life in a camp often leads refugees to feel hopeless and left without options to succeed. There are many other refugees like Na Aye Yin who remain desperate for the opportunity to gain knowledge, which they can apply to become self-sufficient and effective in their community. Na Aye Yin and her husband’s success have encouraged training staff to see first-hand that the courses offered by ADRA Thailand’s VTRM project really do change lives.
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