A follow-up seminar was held on October 25 at a training center of the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) for 30 fiscal 2015 network members (drivers of three-wheeled motorbike taxis called tuk-tuk).
After an opening address by the deputy head of the LFTU’s Vientiane branch, members of the Vientiane Working Committee served as instructors for (1) a follow-up English conversation lesson and (2) discussions toward the establishment of an SGRA cooperative society.
On October 27 the Vientiane Chamber of Commerce and Industry held vocational training at a village government office on the outskirts of Vientiane with the participation of 30 fiscal 2016 network members (sewing workers). During the training, the secretary general of the Vientiane Chamber of Commerce and Industry spoke about (1) how to apply for the One Village One Product project, (2) marketing know-how, (3) packaging know-how, and (4) the merits of using organic dyes. In addition, the Vientiane Chamber of Commerce and Industry offered to provide booths free of charge at various events, such as handicraft festivals.
On September 25 a Life Support Seminar was held in the town of Don Kaeo in the northern province of Chiang Mai for 20 informal-sector workers facing especially difficult conditions (disabled persons and their helpers) with the cooperation of the Northern Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Persons and the Don Kaeo government office.
After opening addresses by Director Teruhiko Sekiguchi of the JILAF Thailand Office, a representative of the Northern Working Committee (NWC), and the head of the Northern Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Persons, a disabled group representative outlined various issues, including (1) many disabled persons cannot manage without helpers, (2) the human rights of disabled persons are belittled in the community, making it difficult for them to participate in society, and (3) there is a big difference in what people can and cannot do depending on their age, gender, and extent of disability. In response, an expert from the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare of the Thai Ministry of Labour gave an explanation of welfare services for disabled persons. In addition, discussions were held with NWC members and disabled persons and their helpers regarding vocational training, and a memorandum was concluded between the JILAF Thailand Office and the local government to clarify training content, budget, and conditions before JILAF’s next visit.
On October 19 a Life Support Seminar was held on Lanta Island in Krabi Province for 31 informal-sector workers facing especially difficult conditions (the Lanta Island Muslim community).
At the beginning of the seminar, Director Sekiguchi of the JILAF Thailand Office expressed his gratitude to the Southern Working Committee (SWC) for its efforts in preparing and organizing the seminar and outlined the seminar’s objectives and content. A representative of the Muslim community then explained current issues, including (1) because of the dependence on tourism, there was a big difference in income between the high and low seasons; (2) although there are industries other than tourism (making batik, bags, and curry paste, farming, etc.), business expansion was difficult; and (3) the geographical demerits (movement limited to boats, expensive distribution expenses). In response, SWC members provided information that would contribute to improving and raising livelihoods, such as (1) income improvement through vocational training, (2) know-how toward the establishment of an SGRA cooperative society (mutual-aid system), and (3) the merits of organization (making it easier to access various support schemes, etc.). The seminar ended with the participants expressing their appreciation, saying that the seminar had given them much useful information and knowledge.
|10/17||Mon||Life Support Seminar in Don Kaeo, Chiang Mai (Thailand)|
|10/18||Tue||Life Support Seminar on Lanta Island, Krabi Province (Thailand)|
|10/19||Wed||Follow-up English conversation lesson for tuk-tuk drivers (Laos)|
|10/20||Thu||Vocational training in Vientiane (Laos)|