A new beginning

Fr Kurt Zion Pala at the opening of the Student Learning Resources Centre - Photo: Fr Kurt Zion PalaFr Kurt Zion Pala at the opening of the Student Learning Resources Centre - Photo: Fr Kurt Zion Pala

On the 15th of August 2022 on the Feast of the Assumption, the Catholic Student Action Myitkyina opened it’s Student Learning Resources Center (SLRC), which is located in the grounds of the St. Patrick’s Church grounds, Shatapur Parish in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar.

The current political crisis and the covid pandemic has affected many young people in the country. Young people in the country these days are out of school and seeking employment. Many are not ready to be employed or do not have the important skills to be employable. This alternative learning program for the youth hopes to address the gaps in education, skills formation and youth employment. After the training program, the youth will hopefully be able to find internship and work in different businesses or organizations inside or outside Myitkyina.

The center is a partnership with the Pinyar Thagar Academy, the Advance Accounting Institute, the Confide Psychological Services and the Columban Fathers. The center has a Computer room, Library, office and a counseling room. A total of 27 students enrolled in the center’s 3 month-long training program which covers the following subjects: basic English skills, basic Computer skills, basic Accounting skills, Work and Life skills. The center will also provide counseling services and psychological education classes. The center is also guided by the values of Service, Leadership, Resilience and Community.

Fr Kurt Zion Pala cuts the ribbon to open the Student Learning Resources Centre - Photo: Fr Kurt Zion PalaFr Kurt Zion Pala cuts the ribbon to open the Student Learning Resources Centre - Photo: Fr Kurt Zion Pala

On August 12 we celebrated World International Youth Day. This year’s theme or focus was on Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages highlighting ageism.  The World Health Organization defines ageism as “the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) directed towards others or oneself, based on age”. One is either “too young or too old” to be someone or to do something.

The SLRC hopes to provide these young team space and opportunity to lead, learn and grow while also providing service to their fellow youth. The center is managed by a young and hopeful team composed of 8 members (4 males and 4 females). The teaching staff is also composed of young, competent and passionate teachers and trainers.

Of the 27 participants, 15 are males and 12 are females. Most participants are 19-22 years old (13 students. The political crises resulted to an increased number of students not attending school or universities. Through the center, we hope we will be able to provide assistance and support for all young people not just among the Catholics. We hope to provide a safe space for young people to meet and build community, space and opportunities for learning, support literacy and education, and help shape the new ideas and perspectives and finally build resilient and work-ready young people.

Help us help young people bring their dreams to life.

Columban Fr. Kurt Zion Pala lives and works in Myanmar.

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