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bakery training vietnam AFD
May Myat Thu comes from Myanmar, Thiên Vu is from Vietnam. The two young people have several things in common, despite their cultural differences: they both come from disadvantaged backgrounds and had to stop school before university. Above all, they are now following a training course to learn bakery crafts, thanks to a project of La Boulangerie Française bakery school supervised by the European Institute for Cooperation and Development (IECD) and financed by AFD.

You both have quite specific backgrounds… Can you tell us your story?  

Thiên Vu: I grew up in District 9 in Ho Chi Minh, in southern Vietnam, in a small two-room house where I lived with my parents and younger sister. My father works in the construction industry and my mother is a housewife. I had to stop school to work when I was 15 as my parents had money problems. We decided to do everything we could so that my sister could continue to study: women are already sufficiently disadvantaged compared to men, we wanted to offer her the best chances in life. 

May Myat Thu: For my part, I come from a small village in the Ayeyarwady region, which is located in the Myanmar delta. When I was 8, our village was devasted by Cyclone Nargis and we had to leave. I was received in a monastery of nuns, and my parents were rehoused by the Church in a small wooden house 8 hours drive from the monastery. I continued to study at the monastery, but I didn’t finish high school. I decided to reorient towards something more concrete.


What are the main concerns of young people in your country?

May Myat Thu: It’s quite difficult to find a job and spread your wings. You can’t earn enough in low-skilled jobs, such as a worker, to meet the needs of an entire family, especially in terms of education. Young people are generally quite worried about their future and their first years in working life.

Thiên Vu: It’s the same in Vietnam. My generation is worried about not managing to find a job, especially because companies systematically ask us to have experience. There’s a great deal of inequality, but most of the young people I know hope to improve their living conditions. There’s also growing concern over the environment. We’re increasingly aware of the urgent need to take action, in particular thanks to social networks. In Vietnam, we use a lot of plastic, for example, but more and more young people are campaigning to reduce this consumption and preserve the environment.


What opportunities does this bakery training offer you?

Thiên Vu: When I heard about the training from one of my cousins, I was 22. I was a bit lost, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. This training opens up new opportunities for me, to manage to help my family while doing a job I like. I think I won’t have any trouble finding a job when I finish, and I will be better paid than by doing an informal job. Next, I would like to work for five to ten years then open my own shop.

May Myat Thu: For me, this training is an opportunity to secure my future by learning a trade that will serve me throughout my life. My parents still live in the house provided by the Church, so I would like to help them financially so that they can rebuild one and my seven brothers and sisters can grow up in decent conditions. I would also like to save up to open my own shop, ideally within the next ten years.