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Vocational training preparing refugees for a life beyond the camps

As the stabilisation of Myanmar’s Eastern States proceeds, the prospect for the return of more than 100,000 refugees still living in camps in the border provinces of Thailand is progressively gaining momentum. ACTED has been providing vocational training opportunities to young adults in two refugee camps since 2013 to help building their own life after leaving the camps. The vocational training is complemented with life skills training, counselling and information on the current situation in Myanmar. Trained refugees also had the opportunity of improving their skills through internships, and to start their own businesses inside the camps.

Through integrated vocational training, ACTED is ensuring that Myanmar refugees develop skills capable to break the aid-dependency developed over the protracted displacement. Indeed, most of the refugees, and particularly the youth, have been living their whole lives in camps, and need to be prepared to face a new reality in the prospect for return. In this context, the development of skills is crucial for them to become independent and self-reliant. Moreover, they not only need to develop technical skills that will allow them to get a job, but also life skills such as communication and decision-making skills. Through its activities, ACTED addresses all these challenges.

Today’s investment, tomorrow’s livelihood security

In 2016, over 700 camp residents graduated from 10 different Vocational Training programmes, developed by ACTED and its partners based on current employment needs in Myanmar. Many graduates were supported with a Small Enterprise Development grant after completing an additional training on business development. The grants programme enhances self-reliance and capacity for income generating activities for refugees via access to financial investment. A variety of small enterprises have been initiated through this scheme, including restaurants, convenience stores, and tailoring shops. New business owners receive mentoring by experienced ACTED staff, helping to ensure long-term viability of new enterprises for livelihood security.


Breaking barriers: Asserting skills and building confidence

ACTED developsan internship scheme for vocational training graduates designed to provide on-the-job experience to young refugees. Some of them complete eight-week internships with the private sector, having the opportunity to cultivate vocational skills, network with potential employers, and break barriers of isolation imposed by the camp context. ACTED also provides information to the refugee communities in camps on the situation in Myanmar, their legal status and Thai regulations about migration.. The internships and information sessions have proven crucial in building self-confidence and awareness of how life outside the camps is.


Partners in 2016 :

ADRA Germany / EuropeAid, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM)


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