Keep Moving Forward (online)
28th December 2020, Hinthada, Ayerwaddy
With the year 2020 creeping closer to a close, many are simply hoping to return to when things were “normal”, if such a state still exists, waiting for the clock to strike twelve and along with the fireworks to desperately welcome in a new year. It will have certainly been a year, especially here in Myanmar, with our own ups and downs. Although new COVID-19 patients are being found every day, people seem to be unable to resist the urge to go out on these cool December nights in Yangon just to stroll around the brightly lit city or to have their own evening picnics in local parks.
On the other hand, when we revisit the city of Hinthada in the north, much of the city like most across the country, remains closed down under government restrictions. Numerous restaurants and shops have either been carrying on with their businesses through home deliveries or are open for takeout. Many have been facing losses and are at risks of shutting down. In such trying times workers across the country have to look for other forms of work, with crowds of workers recently flocking at the doors of hiring workplaces for an uncertain chance to apply.
Tun Yat is an agri-tech startup that provides rental farm machines to farmers in addition to providing farming as a service and connecting farmers to buyers and off-takers. While workers were facing the dire consequences of the pandemic, for the past few months Tun Yat and Paung Sie Facility have been providing upskill training programs to support returning migrant workers. By promoting social cohesion to abolish harmful COVID-19 stereotypes about migrant workers and creating a women’s enterprise, progress has been made as workers made new connections among them, learned new skills and earned jobs. (Read about it: Social Cohesion of migrant workers and The Mechanization Shift).
Meanwhile, after a swift and successful completion of one of the programs — “Bookkeeping and Storage”- we had the chance to follow up on the feedback of some of the graduates that have been chosen for employment and incorporated to the staff of Tun Yat.
Ma Htet Htet Lwin, age 22, resident of Ma Pone Su village expressed her thoughts on the attendance of the program and of what the future holds for her.
“In such a time when jobs are truly difficult to come by, I couldn’t help but feel relieved and delighted for when I heard back…”
“It was from the pamphlets that got passed around our village, that I heard about the PaungSie development programs with Tun Yat and made the decision to take on the bookkeeping and storage training. Now that I have completed that, I’m confident on how to use a computer properly to keep records, calculate the price of products and how to make purchases accordingly. “ If I had to choose a memorable moment during my training, it has to be the time we got to meet the trainees from the Food Safety and Preparation. It was wonderful to share our experiences and knowledge with one another. In such a time when jobs are truly difficult to come by, I couldn’t help but feel relieved and delighted for when I heard back from Tun Yat about my CV, and that I’ve earned a job. As for my near future, I hope to become a successful person at what I will do here at Tun Yat.”
Through daily half-day Zoom sessions hosted from Yangon, a finance consultant gives lectures and presentations on how to properly manage “Bookkeeping and Storage”. With COVID-19 safety measures in place, workers in Hinthada attend a daily class and are seated in front of a projected screen with their own desk space. Trainees also engage in various practical exercises, Q&A sessions and rich discussions.
As a new year emerges on the horizon, which many has hopes for to go back to normal and the pandemic to be defeated, we can look back and say that whatever the situation may have been, we adapted to continue making a difference. Although it is a difficult time, the infection rates have been dropping and what matters is that we keep moving forward together, whether it may be through Zoom calls or lectures, towards a prosperous and developed Myanmar in the future.
Nay Ye’ Lin Content Writer, Tun Yat