The DEPDC Self Sufficiency Store still does not have enough funds to begin construction. But the students continue their vocational training and making products that will be sold once the store is finished. The following are updates of different DEPDC programs closely related to the Self Sufficiency Store.
1. Vocational training
A special full-time vocational training program began earlier this year for graduates of the DEPDC Half Day School who finished sixth grade. The students could not afford to study at the high school and were facing significant pressure from their families to find work to contribute to the family income. The students also saw their friends and peers working in the market and making spending money. To encourage these vulnerable teenagers to continue their studies and learn a trade, DEPDC opened the full-time vocational training program. The students agreed to study for two years; their parents also agreed to allow them to study instead of forcing them to find work. The students in the vocational training program study six days per week. They learn skills in sewing, hair cutting and various marketable handicrafts. In addition, the students are enrolled in the Thai government’s non-formal educational program to learn academic subjects along with vocational skills. Most recently, the students learned how cut patterns and sew pajama shirts and pants for children. These pajamas were given as gifts to the children at DEPDC’s rehabilitation safe shelter to prepare for the cold weather. Over 50 items made by DEPDC vocational training students were on display at a local community fair, including handbags, hand-crocheted shawls, clothing, and accessories.
2. Community Learning Center
DEPDC’s Community Learning Center is a free educational opportunity for adults in the Mae Sai area. Most CLC students are migrant workers from rural areas and did not have the chance to attend school as a child. The CLC offers various vocational activities throughout the year for adults to learn from a range of simple to complicated skills that will contribute to the family income.
3. Training on sewing and weaving
Sewing students have learned techniques for making Thai-style skirts and a variety of shirt styles, including short-sleeved collared shirts, T-shirts, Hawaiian-style shirts, Chinese-style shirts, and V-necked shirts. Class content focused on:
- Creating designs for cutting and sewing round necked shirts, drawing on the necks
- Drawing models and sewing necked shirts, tight and loose waist shirts
- Principles in designing and sewing
Weaving students focused on improving their basic skills:
- Threading the loom
- Weaving striped cloth
- "Snake" stripes
- Mixing colors for cloth weaves
- Weaving scarves
- Weaving napkins
- Weaving placemats
The first two groups of students have finished the sewing course and are currently looking to start their own business operations in the Mae Sai area. DEPDC would like to use the Self Sufficiency Store to assist them with start-up costs.
4. Field trips to observe occupation activities
Sixty students visited and observed various local vocational co-ops, asking questions about how to set up a strong vocational enterprise, concepts of setting up occupation groups, labor distribution in each group, and the policies of and support from the Thai government. Students visited an agriculture co-op, a group making synthetic-fiber blankets, a group making decorative home products from local grasses, and a group that manufactures bedding.
These activities show the progress of DEPDC’s vocational activities for children and adults who will benefit from the Self Sufficiency Store. Your support to make the Store a reality is extremely appreciated.