Last month MAP Education and Identity Program staff and volunteers attended a training on youth development held in Mae Sot, hosted by the Path2Health organization. The training focused on adolescents and young adults aged 10 to 25 years old. The purpose of the training was to prepare parents, teachers, and youth workers to best support this age group as they navigate the changes that characterize this stage of development. Of the 27 people who participated in the training, 9 were MAP volunteers based out of Mae Sot and 1 was a MAP staff member. MAP staff and volunteers are eager to apply what they learned to the Education and Identity Program’s trainings in migrant communities in Mae Sot.
The training covered techniques for talking adolescents through difficult emotions, such as audiovisual exercises that help identify and understand complex feelings such as anger. The importance of empathy in working with youth was emphasized in the training, and participants practiced coming up with approaches to addressing issues with their youth such as drug abuse, which is a major source of tension in Mae Sot’s migrant communities. Moreover, trainers delved into the ways that adolescents and young adults view the world, as well as how this age group practices logic—all in an effort to prepare participants to deliver messages that are accessible to their youth. With the goal of equipping participants with the tools they need to train other parents and teachers in the migrant community, the training included a session on how to teach and train others on these topics.
MAP staff felt the training was particularly useful for MAP volunteers who are working directly with the migrant community on a regular basis. Parents in the migrant community have shared with MAP staff and volunteers that they feel ill equipped to address some of the challenges faced by migrant youth, such as the presence of drug abuse and teenage pregnancy. In response to this request for support, MAP’s Education and Identity Program in Mae Sot is making at effort to organize spaces where parents and other community members can learn about these issues and brainstorm solutions around them. MAP is grateful for this opportunity, facilitated by the Path2Health organization, to develop techniques for supporting the healthy development of migrant youth that can then be shared with the larger community.