Teenagers usually struggle to get through the turning point of their life. Amidst the fast-pace changing society nowadays, some have found themselves on the right track while many others who lack life skills have been misdirected to walk on the dark passage, heading towards life insecurity, harmful ways and vulnerable life. As such, Positive Youth Development has become an essential and a central focus of the work of World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) to support adolescents to grow up to become productive and good citizens who can provide for themselves and their families in the future.
Tee or Narongrit, a young 9th grader in his 15 years of age, has discovered his ‘development asset’ in the clipper cutting class, part of the barber skills training at Ban Pa Wilai School, which has been supported by WVFT’s Pong Nam Ron Area Development Programme, Chantaburi province. Not only getting his fellow schoolmates look better and feel confident, the skills have also offered Tee an occupational option, in case he doesn’t have a chance to continue studying in the higher level.
“The staff from WVFT has led us to do the occupational skill development activity in the extra-curricular learning hour. A nice uncle from the community has kindly taught students from grade 7-9 how to give a haircut. It starts with covering the customer’s neck with a towel. After that we protect his body with a cape. We must do these steps carefully to prevent the clipped hair from falling on the neck and the body, which would give the customer itches. Then we apply a small amount of baby powder on the head thoroughly, so that the hair clipper would be running smoothly over it. After that, use one hand to hold the hair clipper firmly and the other to hold the head of the customer gently. Start running the hair clipper from the bottom of the head, followed by the left and the right, then on the top. Just carefully run the clipper little by little. While doing this, we also get to exercise our abilities to stay focused and calm,” Tee talked about the clipper cutting instruction and what he’s learnt from it.
At the beginning, the cutting lines might not be quite smooth and neat. It took Tee around one academic term, in which he’s spent 2 days a week, 2 hours a day, to practice his clipper cutting skill on the heads of the primary school students who enjoyed taking turns to be his hair models. Tee has steadily improved his clipper cutting expertise. Now he can give his schoolmates nice haircuts just like a professional. “I can only do the student short clipper-cutting style, which conforms to the school regulation. If I don’t have a chance to continue studying in the higher level, at least I can use the hair cutting skills to support myself,” Tee said with confidence.
Aside from supporting students to attain positive youth development through occupational skill learning and practice, Teacher Oeng or Ms Kasama Sisamphuwong, the activity supervisor, said that another benefit from this was to help students’ parents, most of whom are poor, to save money. In the past, they needed to pay 40-50 baht for each of their children’s haircut. Now they no longer need to pay at all. After getting haircuts, the little customers paid by helping clean up the school’s barber shop. This has also implanted disciplines and sense of kindness among the children.
“Thank you to WVFT and sponsors for realising the importance of child and youth development assets and the support of barber skills for students of Ban Pa Wilai School, along with the whole set of hair cutting tools, which have given children opportunities to learn from action, ignited their fire of learning and opened up their career vision,” said Teacher Oeng.
And this is another nice story, thanks to your kindness sharing through WVFT’s Child Sponsorship Project, which has helped children cut through hardships and move towards development and self-reliance in the future.