Prescription for Change

A Young Doctor in Myanmar Seeks to Bolster the Confidence and Skills of Youth in his Country

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The way Hein Paing Htoo Chit sees it, Myanmar, with one of the fastest growing economies in the world, should be abundant with opportunity. But the Mon State resident points out the country is also wracked by inequality and social injustice creating economic stagnation for many of the country’s youth.

He’s frustrated by the number of young people left behind by the economy and political change as Myanmar, also known as Burma, emerges from more than 25 years of military dictatorship.

A 2014 graduate of the University of Medicine, Magway, Dr. Hein Paing has traveled extensively to remote areas of the country setting up mobile medical clinics and volunteering with charitable organizations.

That opened the young doctor’s eyes to the need for real youth engagement and a network of social entrepreneurship among young adults.

More than half the people of Myanmar are under the age of 30.

“There’s a whole generation of youth who want to do something for the community, but don’t exactly know what to do,” he explains.

That’s why he created a network for change to help youth gain skills. His project incorporates the training he received at iPACE.

iPACE, also known as the Institute for Political And Civil Engagement, offers a host of workshops facilitated by World Learning at the U.S. Embassy’s Jefferson Library in Mandalay .

Dr. Hein Paing studied Organizational Development and Strategic Planning, and participated in a workshop training trainers for Civil Engagement at iPACE.

More recently, he is one of six World Learning alumni to receive an Advancing Leaders Fellowship grant, which funds social entrepreneurship projects. The winners represent a broad range of World Learning programs around the globe. Each fellow received financial support in addition to mentorship training.

Dr. Hein Paing’s project is called Youth Entrepreneurship for Social Justice or YESJ, which is designed to promote social justice through workshop training for youth.

But along the way he realized the need for greater job skills training because of the country’s educational deficits and a stagnant economy in many states far from the capital that is still entrenched in n socialism rather than free market enterprise.

He also stresses the need for training that helps build the confidence and experience of Myanmar’s young people before they can take leadership roles in their local communities.

To further this, Dr. Hein Pang is creating a hybrid platform for learning and career development which will include computer and interpersonal skills, project management, research and development, English and entrepreneurship, in addition to office management and administration.

Dozens of youth have already directly benefited from the YESJ’s workshops and another 120 youth are secondary beneficiaries. Dr. Hein Pang expects another 600 youth to be positively impacted by the workshops.

“Thanks to World Learning, I had the opportunity to encourage some of the youth from my region to think about their lives and engage them in civic life and to be proactive about their careers,” he says.

“The curriculum used in the training was to help youth to think about businesses which create jobs and improve lives by solving the common problems and building the economy up It also helped them to find out what kind of career they should pursue based on their personalities, values and conditions,” he explains.

One day, “local government will be pressured to listen to the voices of youth,” adds Dr. Hein Paing.

World Learning empowers people, communities, and institutions to create a more peaceful and just world.

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