Local woman recognized for international development work

Leader staff

Lisa Vance of Slave Lake has been helping teachers in far-off Myanmar become better teachers. And it has not gone unnoticed. Next month, the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC) will present Vance with its Top 30 Under 30 award for 2021, recognizing the work she has been doing.

And what is that work? It includes research writing in English, teacher training, English tutoring. It’s all done online now, but it started when she was in the country. Vance didn’t set out to do any of this, but one thing led to another.

“After my bachelors degree I went to Thailand to teach English,” she says.

That started a chain of events, encounters and opportunities that we’ll shorten by saying she ended up in Myanmar for about a year, using her chops in community development and English to teach people at a university there, hungry for that sort of knowledge and professional development. Vance followed up with a master’s degree in international development, taken in Bangkok, and continued with the same sort of work in that part of the world. Then COVID arrived on the scene.

“I came home at the end of March,” she says. That would have been last March; she’s been holed up at her parents’ (Brian and Robin-Lee) place in Wagner since then and – as it turns out – keeping quite busy. Reaching out to people she knew in Myanmar, she found out there was keen interest in online versions of the kind of stuff she’d been teaching in person before. So she set about developing courses, recruiting instructors and in June, set up a non-profit company called HETT (Higher Education Training for Teachers).

It is going well so far. One drawback is she isn’t making a living at it. She hopes that will change, in time.

“I would like to make it sustainable,” Vance says.

Lisa Vance
Lisa Vance on the job in Myanmar, teaching teachers how to teach better.

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