One Thursday back in May, Peuan Mit hosted a party for young people from marginalized communities for the first time… but not the last! The mobile school team, who have worked in these communities for many years went out around 5pm to pick up teenagers and young adults from Nongdouangthong community. A few younger children also sneaked into the truck and of course no one had the heart to turn them down.
The crew of about 23 young people, both men and women, most of them out of school and out of work, was taken to the Drop-In Center (DIC) where students from Makphet restaurant and the mechanics workshop, the two Peuan Mit vocational training businesses, were also waiting.
After a tour of the center, with explanations about the small medical clinic, the available classes, the library, and a general description of services available in the program, everyone gathered downstairs to play group games, introduce themselves, and have some snacks.
The Prevention team which runs the DIC showed the young people a promotional VCD about the risks of trafficking. The movie is a fictional story about a Lao girl named Noi who migrates to Thailand and becomes a victim of exploitation over there. The film was in three parts so that the team could stop the video at convenient times to allow discussion with the audience. Everyone seemed very interested in the story and sympathized with the main character. Even the vocational training students who had seen it before were caught up and participated in lively discussions on the risks of illegal migration.
Around 6:30pm, the truck took everyone back home to Nongdouangthong while the vocational training students cycled back to the transitional home. The event will be repeated over the next two months on Thursday nights with young people from other vulnerable communities in Vientiane such as Nongbeuk, Changsavanh, or Thongkhankham.
The Peuan Mit outreach and prevention team hopes that through these introduction parties, more young people will feel confident to come and use the services of the DIC and of the Peuan Mit program, especially the vocational training and the medical clinic.