Take Five: “The WEE Centre gives me the opportunity to showcase my skills and sell the products I’ve made”


Authors: Poompat Watanasirikul and Tanaporn Piriyasupasin

Hua Sae-Wue is a 29-year-old Hmong woman, who lives with her husband and two children in Kiew Doi Luang Village, Thailand. She has undergone a transformation, now actively advocating for her rights and developing her sewing skills since joining a specialized training programme run by UN Women and the Center for Girls Foundation at the Women’s Economic Empowerment and Learning Centre (WEE Centre) funded by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Republic of Korea.

Hua Sae-Wue wears a shirt she made and poses in front of the WEE Centre in Chiang Kong District.
Hua Sae-Wue wears a shirt she made and poses in front of the WEE Centre in Chiang Kong District. Photo: UN Women/Elmer Dante

Do you face any challenges in your life because you are a woman?

We face different forms of discrimination just because we are women. In my ethnicity, men are considered superior. Women’s voices are not often heard. Especially after marriage, I have to live under my husband’s authority. Whatever he says, I must obey. Believing that women should be controlled, this mindset has been passed down through generations. If you don’t follow, they will say ‘This is a bad woman.’

What challenges does everyone in the community face, and how can we cope with them?

Understanding and acceptance of gender equality vary within the community. While it is possible to explain these concepts, older individuals may find them unrealistic and impractical, often adhering to traditional norms. However, things are gradually changing for the better. The Center for Girls Foundation came to our village to educate men within the community. The Center’s support has increased, fostering better understanding within the family. Hence, my husband has become very supportive of my engagement with the Center.

How did you join the Center for Girls Foundation?

About three or four years ago, I attended a workshop provided by the Center for Girls, following an invitation from my friends who had been actively participating in the training. With my husband’s support, I decided to join. As someone with limited formal education, the experience has significantly broadened my perspective. What I appreciate the most is the Center’s commitment to advocating for gender equality and empowering women to pursue their careers while encouraging them to stand up for their rights.

Have you experienced any benefits or changes since joining the WEE Centre?

After joining the WEE Centre in 2022, I learned soap-making and recently picked up sewing to make clothes and shoes. These are practical skills that can contribute to our livelihoods. The WEE Centre gives me the opportunity to showcase my skills and sell the products I’ve made.

I’ve also learned about saving money, even though, as a farmer, my income is insufficient for significant savings. This skill is valuable, and I can pass it on to my children for their future. I like coming to the WEE Centre because I’ve learned new things, met new people, and made new friends from different villages. Sewing is the most significant change and it’s something I enjoy.

What do you hope for in the future?

I want to continue sewing and hope it becomes my main source of income. Currently, I’ve just started, and I would like to get better. Nunnaree Luangmoy, the head of the Centre, has been a great support. She provides materials for our products, and she never deducts anything. If the products are sold, she ensures that we receive the full amount. Before, there was no such place, and we didn’t have personal spaces to work or display our products. I hope the Centre expands its activities, allowing us to develop and sell more diverse items in the future.