What do these women and the 480 other households who have taken out loans have in common?
A 100% repayment rate on their loans.
A portion of their loan interest payments supports a non-formal education program for marginalized children living in the village. New in 2016, it also funds financial literacy skills training for high school graduates to empower them to attain gainful employment as accountants.
In addition to earning increased household income, these women develop increased decision-making power, self-confidence, and community influence.
Ma Thet and Lei Lei Win spend many hours together every day sitting on one of their porches rolling cigars. They love to laugh and reminisce about when they were young and growing up in their village. Ma Thet, a widow with five children, took a loan for $70 to help her continue her small cigar business.
While this may not seem like much to us, it is enough to allow her to run her cottage industry by herself, which then enables her children to stay in school and not need to work to supplement the family income.