In May 2018, our team at Pratthanadee Foundation with generous support from Socialgiver, was able to reach 40 junior high school girls Khemmaratpittayakom School. As part of the “Preparing for Success” training programme, we covered key aspects of the workshop “Building a Positive Attitude.” From the outset, it was clear to our staff that students lacked understanding of further career and educational opportunities, nor did they know the difference between vocational and non-vocational studies. Additionally, there was little comprehension about what was, or was not, legal when it came to child labor laws. Students were not aware of the safe resources available to them from the Ministry of Labour. The participating girls had little to no experience learning about these important issues. Thus, the programme began with a drawing exercise, where students had to identify their hobbies while also simultaneously drawing their future profession. Most students saw themselves as police officers, nurses, teachers, or as soldiers because these careers were all they were familiar with. More often than not, these professions do not match their hobbies or interests. This step is usually an emotional one: every student must share their hopes and dreams with their peers, and because not every student is in a position where they are able to afford higher education, some are forced to acknowledge that they may not be walking the same paths as their friends. The goal was to help them understand that there are endless opportunities that suit their interests, and plenty of resources to help them along the way. Encouraging students to think outside the box, the second step enabled students to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of their dream career. What obstacles must they overcome? How will they go about solving these issues? The third step was identifying which line of study students should pursue in order to achieve their career goals. For instance, a student wanting to study medicine at university level should not choose a line of study focusing on the humanities.
By the end, 100% of junior high school girls recognized that they are able to apply to university even when studying at a vocational school, as well as knew of the safe aid and job placement resources available to them from the Ministry of Labour. The girls increased their knowledge on the myriad of educational and career opportunities available to them after school. More than 66% agreed with the statement: “You have more knowledge and understanding about yourself.” A student declared that the workshop deepened her connection with her peers, facilitated an interest in life goals, and inspired her to make her “dreams come true.” Another reported that the workshop was not only fun to attend, but she also gained public-speaking skills – everyone gets the opportunity to give a presentation with a microphone in hand! This project was successful in providing 40 teenage girls in rural areas with the information and skills required for post-school success. It helped them increase their self-worth, gain confidence, and become inspired and optimistic about their future. Pratthanadee Foundation would like to thank Socialgiver for their continuing support for our projects in Ubon Ratchathani, where the need for this program is significant. This funding also helped Pratthanadee form relationships with new schools, which will enable us to continue growing and developing our programs in the future.