A young girl suffering from Myelodysplastic Syndrome, also known as MDS, attended training in producing handicrafts conducted by a project managed by ADRA Myanmar in Nwar Da Ma Village, Nyaung Shwe Township, within the Southern Shan State in Myanmar.
15 year old Yu Mon Zaw is not like the other girls in her village. Yu Mon Zaw suffers from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a medical condition that deals with the ineffective production of blood cells potentially leading to anemia and cytopenias causing her to feel weak and her body to be more susceptible to contracting other diseases.
Although clever and bright in school, Yu Mon Zaw had to drop out after Grade 6 due to her condition and family financial problems. Yu Mon Zaw's parents work as casual labourers on neighbouring farms in the nearby villages and could not generate enough income to keep their daughter in school in addition to medical bills required for Yu Mon Zaw to recieve blood transfusions equalling to about two bottles each month costing 50,000 kyats (USD$44.39).
When a project managed by ADRA Myanmar was implemented in a nearby village, Yu Mon Zaw spent time hanging around the training venue, until one day she was invited to join in.
“This little girl was around the training venue when the handicraft training was started. Before I could realize she learnt some basic of knitting already and finally she joined the program and learnt the methods very well” ~ Daw Nyunt Nyunt Than, Handicraft Trainer.
Yu Mon Zaw completed handicraft training in November 2012. Today she has sold 10 hats and 2 scarfs to local customers. In order to complete each hat, it takes one day affording a profit of 1,500 kyats (USD$1.33), as well as two scarfs per day earning a profit of 1,000 kyats (USD$0.88).
With hope for the future and a solid skill in an income generation activity, Yu Mon Zaw is confidant that she can knit more clothing in the coming season as well as collaborate with other trainees from the project to sell their items collectively at the nearby townships.