A recent story from one of our trainees on the Thai-Burma border highlights the very real benefits of the skills training offered by our project there. After completing the two week course one young migrant went to a job in a Bangkok garment factory where her husband was working. She reported back to project staff that, thanks to the skills she learned on the border, she now earns NZ$150 more a month than her unskilled husband! She is now recommending the training to her friends and relatives.
Over 350 young mainly female migrants have now been through the course, exceeding our first year target. Of these, all but five (who had family responsibilities) also obtained employment within a month.
The Occupational Training Centre was established in Mae Sot by our project partners, Min Lwin and Htwe Nge, from the Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB). While the morning sessions are occupied with sewing training, the afternoons alternate between learning about Thai labour laws and entitlements and basic Thai language and culture. The complex now has two classrooms/workshops, one office, and housing for trainees who live on site during the course. A kitchen for trainees and a four room house for the trainers have also been completed during the year.
Due to increased demand, Min Lwin has just reported that the Occupational Training Centre is running double shifts for migrants wanting sewing skills. This is no doubt a reflection of the popularity of the course, the great trainers, and the success rate for landing factory jobs afterwards.