Youth Connect Helping Children to Stay in School

Stay in School’s Life Skills trainers use art to explore subjects like dealing with peer pressure and making good choices as well as stress and anger management.

Communities on the Thailand-Burma Border are particularly vulnerable to labor exploitation and trafficking. Once children reach middle school age they often drop out in order to work, increasing their vulnerability to these risks. Youth Connect’s Stay in School (YC-SiS) Life Skills program seeks to support vulnerable children to continue their education. It was founded in 2012 with support from the Project for Local Empowerment (PLE) through World Education. The main goal of the program is to reduce school drop-out rates and increase future opportunities for young people through the provision of Life Skills and Civic and Community Services training.

The Life Skills program started in the Mae Sot area with migrant learning centers and in the beginning of 2014, cross-border activities started with monastic schools in the Myawaddy area of Karen State. In 2015 program activities expanded into Southern Shan State and then the Stay In School Education Centre was launched in Myawaddy (with other donor support).

In recent months with PLE support, YC-SiS began supporting transition activities with residents in a refugee resettlement village in Lay Kay Kaw, Karen State by hosting and facilitating classes on Civic and Community Services and Life Skills to residents. The classes aim to enhance community cohesion and contribute to the development and sustainability of the newly established community. Key to this is helping returned refugees develop their independence and sense of safety and security.

Staff and students at the Stay in School Education Center in Myawaddy, Burma

SiS’s Mission/Vision: To provide training, apprenticeships and career services so students can transition to safe, productive and independent lives.
Link to PLE Strategy: Youth Connect enhances vocational opportunities and supports increased access to education through training children and out-of-school youth. Youth Connect implements a “Stay in School” life skills program for students at risk of dropping out. In this final PLE project year we are supporting Youth Connect to enhance its “Stay in School” program and further develop their communications and organizational capacity.
Partnership period: 1st December 2011 – 31st July 2017
Project location(s): Karen State, Burma and Mae Sot, Tak Thailand
Project beneficiaries (direct & indirect): Migrant children, teachers in Migrant Learning Centers

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