Soe Meh is 21 years old. She was born in Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp in Thailand, where her parents flew more than 20 years ago, running away from the violence that was blighting their village in Myanmar. She doesn’t know how life is outside a camp: she grew up, studied, made friends, fell in love, had a daughter… all within the camp where she was born. However, she has been working with ACTED since 2015 to help the members of her community to be prepared for a life away from the camp.
Indeed, ACTED has been providing vocational and life skills training to young refugees since 2013, aiming to prepare them for a potential voluntary return by developing skills in line with Myanmar labour market needs. Hairdressing, computer, motorcycle repair or hotel services are some of the courses offered, all of them complemented by a life skills course designed to ensure that the participants have all the necessary information and tools to jump into the work world outside the camp. How to manage time, take decisions, communicate, work in a team or develop a CV are some of the topics covered during the life skills course provided by Soe Meh, ACTED Life Skills Trainer. In collaboration with Vocational Training Colleges, ACTED trains its camp-based staffs that are then in charge to teach the different courses to the students. When she finished school, Soe Meh decided to become a Life Skills Trainer because she wanted to do something useful for her community. And she is doing it.
She is very talkative and always smiling. Among the refugees, this is not a very common feature, as they are usually shy and quiet. When she is teaching in the classroom, it can be felt how she captivates her audience. Thanks to her work, young refugees feel a little more ready to face a reality that, for now, is unknown to them. Soe Meh wishes that, one day, her two years old daughter will enjoy a life outside the camp and she is proud to say that she will be able to help her and guide her in her path.