WAM shines at open house

President of the WAM student trainee group Thomas Langidrik is surrounded by canoes built by trainers and trainees in the program as he spoke to visitors at the open house. Photo: Kelly Lorennij.


The Waan Aelon in Majel (WAM) vocational and life skills program is set to graduate a batch of trainees next month. During their open house last Thursday, WAM showcased the handcrafted work of past and present trainees in full display including coconut graters, tables, pounders and riwut-style canoes.

WAM Director Alson Kelen was happy to report that the students have been making good progress recently with their on-the-job training in businesses and government agencies. These organizations have expressed interest in hiring about half of the trainees, but Kelen informed them that it would not be possible at the moment since they have yet to graduate.

Kelen reiterated that the reason for WAM’s existence is the students. WAM offers a “monakjen in katak,” he continued, a mold of learning that prepares each student for the real world.

With the help of the Wellness Center, Red Cross, IOM, WUTMI and others they have been able to provide information on tradition, all the skills needed in life, and life itself.

This week the students are learning the importance of handling money smartly with local banks and will be opening their individual accounts. The students don’t just learn, they also participate, Kelen said. This was evident in the work displayed at the open house. Their work has already moved around the world as well, he said, as they are shared between government officials as gifts or put on display in museums.

Read more about this in the September 13, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.