The Women Empowerment Center

Since 2016 the Women Empowerment Center in Mandalay offers support, vocational training and shelter to women and girls coming from different regions in Myanmar. Most of them come from the areas affected by ongoing conflicts.

The center offers one-year vocational training programs in sewing and beautician, as well as English and computer classes, life skills, psycho-social support and recreational classes.

Since January 2020 WHOW collaborates with the sewing training program of the Women Empowerment Center.

The sewing training program is divided into two parts. At the first location, the center itself, the girls learn basic skills in six months under the supervision of Christine. After this, the girls get support in finding a sewing workshop in town, with good working conditions.

Some girls, for different reasons, are not ready to work outside the center yet. They receive more inhouse training and go to the second location. (The second location is a drop-in center for girls living on the street or coming from the marginalized areas in Mandalay). Here they learn the skills of producing more challenging designs, like traditional dresses. At this moment there are eight girls in the first program and three girls in the second.

‘I started five years ago as a cook at the Women Empowerment Center, while they were still building the center. For the past three years, I’ve been training the girls in the sewing program.’ (Christine)

Before becoming a trainer, Christine got training for six months. After this year she will stop teaching the girls and go back to her village.
She wants to open her shop and focus on European style designed dresses.  Her younger sister, Dora Khu, is one of the eight girls she is training at the moment. She made good progress and developed her skills.

Naw Su Su tun (19 years) is coming from Karen State and has been learning in the sewing program for five months now. She explains: ‘When I am sewing, I am happy. I especially enjoy making blouses for women. Learning how to sew helps me to work towards my goal, which is to become a wedding dress designer.’
Jniverthoo (18 years) was introduced to the sewing program by her aunt. ‘When I saw the classes, I was eager to start and learn, because sewing is a skill that I can use later on in life to make a living.’

The vocational training is in its fourth year and turned out to be successful. Already 187 girls finished the training program, and most of them are now working in the field of their acquired skill.