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Learning in Action: Mandalay Training Report

Hoi Lai Goh and Jerry Tan, left, are BA team members from Singapore, visit Celia Hostel, one of the businesses the team has mentored over the past year (December 2019).
Hoi Lai Goh and Jerry Tan, left, are BA team members from Singapore, visit Celia Hostel, one of the businesses the team has mentored over the past year (December 2019).

In December 2019,  a Business Affiliate team visited the small association Mandalay Christian Business Fellowship to pilot-test four of the 12 modules of the PW business curriculum translated to Burmese.

More than 40 entrepreneurs attended the sessions on healthy personal and business budgeting, product pricing, and accounting, facilitated by BA team members Hoi Lai Goh, Jerry Tan, and regional director, Jackie Klamer.

People participating ranged in experience and backgrounds. One participant was Hlaing*, a 22-year-old civil war orphan who recently started a freelance massage therapy business in Mandalay City; with a reliable income, he also today serves and mentors other teenagers within the local orphanage and school he attended that was founded by another leader of the business fellowship. Another participant, Thet*, started his own business years ago to process beauty products such as high-quality shampoo; today, he employs 50 people and distributes to stores throughout the country. Both contributed to the discussions throughout the day, alongside dozens of others who found value in the peer-learning format of the training.

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Many of these micro and small business owners also support local ministries and faithfully fund indigenous missionaries who are committed to serving in parts of the country that no foreign missionary and most Myanmar citizens would ever go—due to Myanmar’s security laws and restrictions on traveling as ongoing civil wars continue in different regions.

Like most parts of Southeast Asia, since March 2020, these small businesses have been closed in order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further among the fragile health care system of Myanmar. Yet this directly impacts the livelihoods and jobs people rely on in one of the poorest nations in Asia.

We pray that, in the next few months, this small association in Mandalay can start meeting again, and that entrepreneurs will gain momentum and continue to grow in small peer-learning groups, through mentoring and subject-matter experts, and through this Partners Worldwide training curriculum once translations are fully completed!

*Names changed for security purposes

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