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news | September 27, 2016 | Thailand | Development

To Mih’s story: Learning to sew for a brighter future

Basic sewing vocational training course, Ban Mai Surin camp, September 2016. (ACTED)

Since 2013, with EuropeAid’s mandate and the US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration’s support, ACTED has been providing refugees in two camps along the Thai-Myanmar border with vocational training courses.

To Mih is 27 years old. She was born in a small village in Myanmar, and had to move to the Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp with her parents and siblings when she was 11. She attended school in the camp and stopped after the 10th grade (high school level). After that, she went to work in a safe house for women and children who had been exposed to domestic violence. She was always very interested in the art of sewing and enrolled in ACTED’s basic sewing course in 2014 to learn how to use a sewing machine.

To Mih in Ban Mai Noi Soi camp, September 2016. (ACTED)

At the time, she could only attend classes in the evening, along with other refugees who were busy during the day. Then, she married and had a son, and decided to stop working at the safe house so that she could devote more time to her son and to additional vocational training. In September 2016, she started taking ACTED’s advanced sewing course. Currently, she is assiduously attending this course that will last eight weeks and is being trained in clothing design, measuring and cutting.

To Mih really enjoys the course because trainers are attentive to every student’s capabilities and needs, and provide them with a close and customized supervision. She heard about ACTED’s Small Enterprise Development programme and is very inspired to apply once she will graduate from this course because she could receive a grant to buy a sewing machine and start her own business. To Mih is happy that she was given the opportunity to attend vocational training courses for free and to receive certificates that she will then be able to use outside the camps, in Thailand, Myanmar or elsewhere, to prove her professional abilities.

“We are lucky to get such opportunities inside the camps and all refugees should seek to make the best of them in order to ensure that they will have a better future,” she said.