TOTAL.com– Khin Su SU Naing
A Socially Engaged Total Employee
Su Su has a lot to do. In addition to working for Total for the last six years, she’s also a woman who juggles professional demands and personal engagement. It’s 8:00 a.m. and Su Su has a very busy day in store. She’ll be spending the next two weeks touring an area stretching over 60 kilometers, 60 kilometers that she’ll be crisscrossing on dirt roads.
Carton: Thailand - Kanbauk
We’re in southern Myanmar, two hours by plane from Yangon, the capital, in the heart of one of the poorest regions in the country. A region crossed by a buried pipeline that exports gas to the Thai border. Total has implemented a socio-economic program designed to support local communities in the gas pipeline region, allocating more than $2 million to the program every year. Su Su is the field coordinator. “Field” doesn’t tell the whole story, because Su Su usually works at Total’s headquarters in Yangon. But every six weeks, this 37-year-old leaves her family behind to spend two weeks in the field.
I miss my family especially when I see all these veggies, because my kids they like vegetables very much. It make me thinking of them whenever I come to the market.
This morning, Su Su has a meeting with a colleague in charge of the micro-credit program. She grants the loans, a few hundred dollars at an interest rate well below the market, which has allowed people like this woman to start a micro-business.
Every year, the micro-credit program helps nearly 2,000 families.
We ask them to make sure that they are able to return this loan. We don’t want to give money to get more difficult life. We don’t want them to face problem for returning money. This is the idea why we introduce micro-credit programs in the area.
But Su Su’s day is not over yet. Now she’s headed around 20 kilometers east. A change in scenery, because next on the coordinator’s schedule is a project completion meeting. The doctor, builder and local representative of the Total program are here to show her the brand-new rural clinic, a small building that is worlds away from the old one.
In a few days, a part-time doctor will take over. There’s a clinic like this one in every village , which has reduced the infant mortality rate by 66% in ten years.
The public health program deployed by Total also includes a campaign against malaria, a real scourge in this area. Twice a year, mosquito repellent campaigns are conducted. In 2012, more than 15,000 mosquito nets like this one were treated.
Su Su has been working for the socio-economic program for six years. Yet it wasn’t an obvious choice. After studying sociology, she worked for a Swiss NGO for a few years. And when she was hired by Total, she came in for a lot of criticism from her friends. Because in Myanmar, as elsewhere in the world, Total is first and foremost an oil company.
The people’s attitude towards Total was quite negative and my friends say “Ha, are you gonna go? Are you sure you really want to work with Total? Are you gonna just looking for money? Are you sure that you don’t think more than that.” And so on. I was criticized by a lot of my friends. I did that decision to work with Total of thinking that they could be the best benefit for the people and myself as well. And I think six years after I feel that I don’t make any wrong decision. I’m happy that I did that decision of working with Total.
She feels this way because she feels useful. Every day at work, she helps to drive her country’s economic development, as here at this industrial farm financed by Total.
Before the French company arrived, the people in the region imported eggs from Yangon. Now they produce them, making them more self-sufficient and creating jobs. For city dweller Su Su, it’s also an opportunity to discover a previously unknown world.
Before we working with Total, I never ever been to a poultry farm like that before. I had no experience, this is a very new experience. It’s always good to know things happen like that, we don’t know how the eggs can produce eggs and how they live and so on. This is better chance for me knowing this.
Another change of scenery, the last one today, this time a meeting with the principal of a local middle school funded by Total. Around 50 schools have been built in 20 years, or one per village . A scholarship system has been set up, libraries have been created, and teaching resources are provided, like here.
For instance we support computers here, we have a solar system here and he is just explaining about they can do a night study with our solar support. Just making sure that things wrong is that anything that we can support to them.
Today, all children — poor and not so poor — can go to school. A minor revolution in this developing country.
Su Su will continue her tour and in a few days she’ll be back with her family in Yangon.