By Joana Jones, ACM Director and Maeram, ACM Education Coordinator
In December, the Asian Children’s Mission team and other visitors traveled down the Ayerwaddy River to reach the village of Putaik Gyi to take part in a Christmas celebration. While we were there, we met with village leaders to discuss educational needs. ACM has provided teachers to the village since 2008, and this year expanded the local school system to include a middle school as well as the elementary school.
Although it might seem that adding a high school program would be the next logical step, a more practical alternative is vocational training in this farming and fishing village. Many young people have no skills, and can only work as seasonal laborers. However there are opportunities for people who know how to repair the small engines used for boats and water pumping stations. We agreed with the village leadership to offer vocational training in small engine repair.
The first class was held in February. There were seven learners. Zaw Min Taik, Poe Zaw, Thuring, Min Min, Thiha, Mya Thwin and Tin Win. Min Min and Tin Win have engines, but they do not know how to fix when they stop working. In fact they don’t even know how to operate them! They only rent out to people who know how to use them. They are very happy that they will be able to operate themselves.
Another one is Zaw Min Taik. He was afraid of even touching the engines. But he wants to know how to fix them when they stop working. Through out ten days of training he only watched others working and repairing. But during the last few days everyone is asked to take apart an engine and put itthem together. At first Zaw Min Taik would not even touch the engine, but with everyone’s encouragement he finally did it. Now he is very happy that he has learned to do it on his own.
They say if they keep on learning a few more times, they will be able to fix any kind of engines and motors.
Teacher Peram is very happy too. He has done something useful for the village people. He spoke to the children not to easily give up when things go wrong.
We plan to do more training in the future, and will also offer vocational training in sewing and tailoring.