“Now I can stand on my feet and even support my family with my own earnings,” says 21-year-old Thae, who has attended a sewing class supported by World Vision.
Thae lives in AungMyayThaZan Township, Mandalay Division, in central Myanmar. Her parents were unable to earn regular income so the family's financial problems forced Thae to permanently leave the school at the age of 11, before finishing 6th grade. Thae had to help her mother in selling fruits and vegetables to support the family. Thae’s life was tough and rough.
Thae is the second daughter amongst four siblings. Her father works as a carpenter and her mother sells seasonal fruits and vegetables. Although they worked hard, their income were barely enough for the family to survive.
“I had to drop out from school as my parents were unable to contribute the frequently requested offerings for school facilities and activities,” said Thae sadly.
Due to the insufficient facilities in school, teachers often collect money from the students, such as fees for drinking water, broom sticks etc.
“I didn’t want to drop out of school but I had to help my mom,” said Thae.
When Thae was just 16, she got a job at local business, washing plastic bags to be used for packing plums. On a normal day, she worked from 8am to 5pm washing bags, earning just 12,000 kyats (around 12 US dollars) per week. Sometimes she had to work the night shift until 11:30pm.
“I had to wash large bags, sometimes using cold water during the night shift in winter,” said Thae.
“I quit that job as it was far from my home and I didn’t feel safe to return home at night,” shares Thae.
Soon after, her life changed for the better when World Vision introduced her to vocational training. Thae felt the light of dawn!
“I thought I would never have a chance to attend sewing training as I could not afford the training fees,” said Thae.
After working hard during the six-month training, Thae could make different kinds of blouses, simple trousers, and shirts. Within 2 years, this enthusiastic learner established her own tailoring business in her community. She later became part-breadwinner of the family after her father died.
“I feel a bit reluctant and worried. I wondered if I could make good designs when I first started,” Thae shares.
Thae earned only around 7000 kyats (US 7 dollars) a week before she had a zigzag sewing machine.
Aware of Thae's need, World Vision provided Thae with a new zigzag sewing machine which allowed her to make different designs and clothes. And with the loan support from community fund, she also received a trimming machine. She was able to repay the loan to the community after only 5 months.
Since then, Thae is getting busy with pre-orders. Her business is growing due to her punctual services.
“I earn about from 150,000 kyats (150 US dollars) to 200,000 kyats (US 200 dollars) monthly and I can support my family well,” Thae says with a big smile.
“Now, with my regular earnings, I can stand on my own feet,” says Thae.
“Thanks so much to World Vision for the support. I will try to expand my business and I am also determined to learn how to design wedding dresses,” Thae shares her next dream.
Once Thae’s life was rough and in the darkness, but now she has found rays of hope.