A story from Laos by Clémence, technical advisor with Peuan Mit.
Mr J is a former student at the Peuan Mit mechanics garage. In early 2011, after a year of training, Mr.J graduated at the age of 20. He proudly opened his own garage in the rural suburbs of Vientiane of April the same year. Finding the space himself, he used his savings to rent the premises for a year. Peuan Mit provided Mr J with the technical equipment needed and the mechanics vocational training team leader continues to visit once a month ensuring everything is still going well.
The small garage is located off a large dirt road in Kham Ngoi village, next to a little noodle shop and tailor. There is a rudimentary kitchen and a bathroom at the back. The neighborhood is certainly quiet but Mr J can make approximately 100,000kip ($12.50 USD, an average monthly wage in Laos is $208 USD based on the CIA World Factbook) each day by fixing motorbikes and selling gas. It is enough for Mr J to pay his rent of 300,000kip ($37.60 USD ) a month as well as electricity and water.
Mr J is originally from XamNeua in the Houaphan province and his family remains there so he works and lives alone. He has friends in Vientiane who come to visit and sometimes help him with small tasks.
When the team leader visited on June 13, two young men were working away on an old motorbike while Mr J was out buying material. He soon returned and was happy to exchange news with his former trainer about his business and former classmates. Since the garage is doing well and Mr J does not have any problems the visit is fairly short. Follow-up will continue for another 18 months ensuring Mr J has the best possible start with his new beginning.
You can read more about our Peuan Mit program here.