Hla Hla May, 14, is absorbed in her work, just like the other 20 adolescent girls who are focused on patterned paper laid out on the floor. They are drawing, measuring and cutting blouses today; some are sewing.
We are in a tailoring workshop, in Say Tha Ma Gyi camp for internally displaced people in Sittwe, in the central part of Rakhine State. The training is part of a non-formal education programme provided by Plan International and supported by UNICEF.
Cultural norms, poverty and her parents’ arrival in the camp seven years ago, prevented Hla Hla May from continuing her schooling after Grade 2. Suddenly she had to stay at home: a time she prefers to forget. This is one of the reasons why she enjoys the training so much. “This workshop has changed so many things for me; before I had to stay at home and help with the housework, now I see friends every day and design dresses.”