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An Intern's Perspective - Self Sustainability

BY KENZIE ROBERTS | 18 APRIL 2017

We are happy to report that we run a completely self-sustainable training center out here in Thailand. When I say “self-sustainable”, I mean, it pays for itself. We focus on not wasting resources, and maintaining the amount of classes we teach. All the costs that come with running the training center are covered by the classes we teach and people pay donations towards. We currently offer 40% of our classes for free now. We hope for this number to rise to at least 60%.

All Global Alms projects are initially fully funded by our generous sponsors and conducted by our amazing volunteers. With their support, we are able to continue working with the most vulnerable and at-risk families and local communities.

Some of our projects include the Pillowcase Dresses that our Community Liaison Officer, Moo Ra Soe, makes from scrap fabric and gives to local girls in need, sick children, and abandoned babies in the local clinic for refugees and migrants. We also have the Dress A Girl project, where people donate funds for dresses to be made for the local women and girls to have dresses and something nice to wear.

We have our Sponsored Classes in Vocational Training where the Global Alms team will teach vocational skills to the community to give them a safe way to make money for themselves and their families. The Personal Protection classes are another of the Sponsored Classes that teach women and children reality based self-defense tactics in order to protect themselves.

The Train the Trainer Scholarships ensure that local caregivers of at risk children can receive training, in order to train others on how to provide best care practices for the children in their care.

We work hard to make most of our classes and seminars free, yet ensuring that the participants find a way to value and invest themselves in the classes even if they are not donating towards the fees. Many locals want the training that Global Alms has to offer. Be it self-defence, training for working with children at risk, business or vocational classes. However, it can be difficult, especially for migrants and refugees, to come up with the funds that are usually necessary for classes such as these.  

Many times, we use the ‘Pay it Forward’ method. Global Alms will receive a bag of rice or some other donation and pass the resources on to others; so the participants have invested in the class and help others in the process. We get to know the participants. We learn about their families, lives, and stories. We work with those in the classes to find relevant and smart ways to provide them with the training they need.  

The ultimate goal is to find Thai and Burmese nationals to train up as trainers. In a way, we want to put ourselves out of a job. The trainers themselves can go out and teach their communities. They themselves would have a deeper understanding of the culture, the language, and the specific contexts of their community and how these classes could apply. Who would understand the needs of the local farmers better than the locals? Who better to gain the trust needed to be effective leaders than the locals?


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