Life Skills Workshops- Bring Change
Our Life Skills workshops have been developed and implemented by our Lotus volunteers in collaboration with local partners since 2016. The successful implementation is greatly due to the generous financial support provided by North Balwyn Rotary Club and Maitland Toyota.
Many activities focused on building self-identity, confidence and personal agency to aid the girls in their future choices. As they set goals for the future, such as where they wanted to see themselves in ten years’ time, they were asked to identify those qualities that they had and that would serve them for attaining the goals. This building of confidence and agency…of being able to see that they can make independent choices for their lives is critical in a culture where so much is already determined for them. From this work, the girls also created a personal motto to take forward.
LOTUS’ belief that the girls’ education coupled with continual training in life skills will make the positive impact needed to fulfill the aim of building their knowledge capacity, in providing the necessary skills and attitudes to approach career options if they wish and in general, to experience overall health and wellbeing in their lives. This is done in a way that fits into the local cultural traditions in that girls are provided the knowledge and skills for choosing to study further but also supporting the girls if they choose to remain and to settle into a more traditional lifestyle.
Lotus uses the definition of Life Skills as: the combination of skills (what one has), knowledge (what one knows), and attitudes (what one believes and values) that constitute a set of competencies (what one can do) that enable youth to adapt to, function and thrive in society.
Life Skills are provided in two distinct ways. Annually, Lotus sponsors a week-long workshop at Thesano Rice Research Farm. The girls live at the research farm and have a very organized and structured program to develop the above concepts. The workshop program includes identifying values and qualities of a ‘Lotus’ girl’. This is intended to develop identity, self-confidence and resilience among other essential qualities and each year these are re-introduced in a variety of ways.. Presentation skills, problem solving skills needed for making wise decisions and choices, and listening to others who are in technical or vocational fields to support the concept of choosing careers form an essential part of the workshop. Anti-trafficking and safe migration behavior are all highlighted over the years in the workshop. The girls learn how to work in teams and to collaborate.
Over the years, Lotus has also focused on extending the life skills that the girls learn in the annual workshops, to the village. This is done through the local Project Coordinator and the Project Manager who visit the schools and include in their sessions with the girls, elements of the taught life skills. For example, girls have been involved recently at the school sessions, in mock interviews that were first conducted in the workshop, and which will support their communication and presentation skills in the future. Most girls have telephones and the local staff in Savannakhet stay in touch to encourage the girls, to answer questions and to give support with any issues arising. Some of the Grade 12 girls have taken on the responsibility to be key leaders in their school and assist Lotus with activities and disseminating information. The Lotus Girls have created a strong and caring community.