Myanmar: A major life change

25 September 2020|JRS Myanmar

Thomas is repairing fence with his students at St. Mary Antony Primary School at Palana IDP camp. (Feb. 2020)

This is the story of 26-year old Thomas La Wawm (male) who is a graduate of the 5th batch of the 9-month Teacher Training Course (TTC), a joint project of JRS and DCE-Myitkyina. He lives in Jan Mai Kawng, Myitkyina, Kachin State. In Academic Year (AY) 2019-2020, La Wawm served as the teacher in-charge at St. Mary Antony Primary School in Palana IDP camp where many IDP students are enrolled. St. Mary Antony Primary school is a government affiliated school in Palana, Myitkyina, Kachin State.  

He spent most of his teens and early 20s with an armed group while pursuing his undergraduate degree before he joined the TTC to become a community volunteer teacher at the IDP camps located in remote and conflict-affected areas. The trainers noticed that he had his share of negative life experiences as observed by his risky behaviors such as alcohol-drinking and inability to communicate well with his fellow TTC trainees in the first 2-3 months of training.   

Indeed, TTC is not only a place for teacher training but youth formation as well. TTC management team in-charge, Sr. Rosemary Wong, always accompanied La Wawm throughout his study at TTC as he can speak Chinese too. A few months later, after accompaniment and reflection sessions with him—at times in between fights—La Wawm started to stop drinking alcohol and became a sociable person. He became an active and motivated learner, and helped his fellow trainees and trainers a lot. He followed all the rules and he tried hard. His mother thanked Sr. Rosemary Wong saying, “My son is totally changed now. Before, he never wanted to go to the church; but now, he is the one to invite the family to go to church with him every Sunday. He does not drink alcohol nor make any troubles with others and he works hard.” Undoubtedly, JRS could observe happiness and satisfaction in La Wawm’s mother who was sitting at the front row during graduation day. 

After graduation, he served as a teacher in-charge at St. Mary Antony Primary School for AY 2019-2020. He worked very hard and was good in organizing his fellow teachers and students at the school. He also occasionally helped the Community Learning Support Program (CLSP)’s extracurricular activities which targets IDP students in Palana Camp.   

He is really one of the students whose life was changed positively by TTC.