Sr Angela speaking to the trainees at the Gate of Hope vocational centre
Canossian Sr Angela Ng speaking to trainees at the Gate of Hope vocational centre.

Two CHARIS affiliates have jointly opened a vocational centre in Myanmar to cater to impoverished youth.
The Canossian Sisters and the Magdalene Mission Myanmar (M3) opened the Gate of Hope centre in Nyuang Shwe on March 25.

The centre, located in the Shan State’s Taunggyi District, will provide students with a one-year course in English, values education and professional skills for the tourism and hospitality sector, and a one month internship at local hotels with potential employers.

The purpose of the centre is to prepare them for entry into the Singapore-Myanmar Vocational Training Institute launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Yangon last year. Graduates also have the option to find jobs in the hospitality industry.

In the last seven years, M3 has been working closely with the Canossian Sisters who set up the Canossa Home, a training centre for educators on the outskirts of Yangon. Graduates from the Formation of Educators programme are paid to work in boarding houses to provide care and learning for young children and youths from poverty-stricken backgrounds.

When these youths reach 18, they enter the local public institutes of higher learning if they meet the minimum criteria. M3 noticed that some students could not further their education after leaving the boarding houses and they ended up working on farms, turning to drugs or being forced into prostitution or early marriage.

M3 then approached CHARIS (Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore) to help set up the Gate of Hope centre for these youths to learn hospitality skills. CHARIS paid for infrastructural costs.

Canossian Sr Angela Ng, coordinator of the Formation of Educators programme in Myanmar, will oversee the centre with the help of Ms Rose Phyo Yu Bar, a graduate of the programme.

The Gate of Hope vocational training centre. Infrastructural costs were funded by CHARIS
The centre located in Nyuang Shwe.

Ms Theresa Goh, founder of M3, said: “I view the Gate of Hope closing the loop on a mission which started as a formation of educators to care for boarding house children. When these children grow up, they now have a centre to go to that prepares them for the job market and break out of the poverty cycle.” M3 will fund the staff’s salaries and raise funds for the centre’s operational costs. They will also continue to connect volunteers to teach specialised topics at the centre.

Among those present at the March 25 ceremony were Mr Robert Chua, Singapore ambassador to Myanmar; Sr Theresa Seow, Provincial Superior of the Canossian Daughters of Charity (Singapore/Myanmar); village chiefs and local business people in the hospitality industry.

Archbishop Basilio Athai of Taunggyi and local priests celebrated a thanksgiving Mass the next day. Submitted by CHARIS

To find out more about M3 and the Canossian Sisters’ mission in Myanmar, see them at the CHARIS Humanitarian Forum & Fair on June 10. For more information, visit

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