Posted by Nick Dale on May 01, 2021
This is the concluding story of the Vocational Training section of BEAM Education Foundation supporting patients at the Burma Children Medical Fund's B.K. Kee Patient House.  Below is a report from Michele Maclellan, who runs the Certificate Sewing Program and BEAM school and conducted a very well-received series of training sessions at the B.K. Kee House. 
 
Over the month of March 2021, The BEAM Foundation Sewing Team held an outreach workshop at the B.K. Kee Patient House.
 
This wonderful organization is part of the Burmese Children Medical Fund which sponsors medical care for Burmese children, as well as providing support and housing for their families, while they are in Chiang Mai receiving treatment.
 
Many families in the program, have been stuck in Chiang Mai due to Covid and the ongoing situation in Myanmar. They expressed interest in working on their sewing skills while here. The good people of The Chiang Mai International Rotary Club, who provide support to many great organizations in Chiang Mai, connected us to the B.K. Kee Patient House, to provide sewing training. 
 
As many participants of the program have to stay at the foundation site, we brought portable sewing machines, fabric and other related equipment from our sewing studio at the BEAM foundation.
 
We held classes twice a week, for the duration of the month of March. We were able to leave the machines and equipment for participants to practice when we weren’t there. They were eager to sew and flew through projects at a great speed!
 

Over the course of the month, we completed four projects, zipping through the majority of our normally forty-hour "Foundations of Sewing" course. We completed: zippered bags, collared button-down shirts, elastic waistband pants and a skirt.
 
Our avid participants were such an amazing group to work with. We were very impressed by their motivation and enthusiasm to sew!  (Below, right, two of the students model their completed projects with smiles of joy and happiness.  Masks were removed only for the photos.)
 
We communicated in a mixture of Burmese, Shan, Karen, Thai and English; but didn’t find it too difficult to understand each other, thanks to the team members who were able to translate and to give visual examples of various tasks.
 
It was a wonderful month. We are sad to have to leave but are so grateful for the connections and friendships that have been made.
 
I feel like I would be remiss not to take a moment to address the ongoing horrific events presently transpiring in Myanmar. I would urge the reader to stay informed and to sign as many petitions as possible imploring the international community to support Myanmar’s democracy and to provide aid towards putting an end to the mass atrocities, brutal killings, arbitrary arrests and the repeated violations of human rights that are being carried out by the Military Junta.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Myanmar, and we remain hopeful for a brighter future.

Michelle Maclellan

Below: Sewing team and members of the BEAM Education Foundation

 


 
 
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