(2/25/16) 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.
Ma Khin Cho runs a home shop, selling kitchen items, produce, and rice and coconut soup. She has taken out and repaid two loans and is now using her third loan to build her business and invest in her shop. These low-interest loans empower Ma Khin Cho to significantly contribute to the family income and be an active participant in the village economy.
When a woman needs a haircut or a bride needs make-up for her special day, she goes to see Mu Mu Sein. Her first loan was $40, her second was $50, and her third was $70. She’s working to grow her business and buy more supplies and equipment. The income also helps her support her family, and the young niece she adopted after the girl’s mother disappeared on a business trip to Malaysia.
What do these women and the 400 other households who have taken out loans have in common? 100% payback. We’re proud to support this loan program and empower these families. This model also puts money back into the community by using some of the interest income to help support the local school and clinic. Like these women, it’s beautiful.