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Myanmar: small loans and further education

Village stores instead of debt trap

The beginning for a life full of plans has been made

Welthungerhilfe´s President Bärbel Dieckmann was visiting Myanmar in March 2013. Get informed about our actual project work and new developments.

Visiting familiy Aye

Khin Aye has seen a lot in her life. The mother of four is 57 years old and a widow, after her husband passed away suddenly three years ago. With the grief came financial worries: "I was not able to do much, and had to take out a € 100 loan at 20 percent interest per month from money lenders," says the petite woman. She sold cooked beans in the village to provide the most urgently needed food for her family. Instead of studying to be an electrician, her youngest son Than Zin Oo had to work as an unskilled labourer for € 30 a month. "I could hardly sleep at the time, because my situation seemed so hopeless," says the 57 year old.

Visiting Myanmar: Bärbel Dieckmann, Welthungerhilfe´s President © Win
Visiting Myanmar: Bärbel Dieckmann, Welthungerhilfe´s President © Win
Community capital is built up through a separate village development fund, whereby the capital is used to offer competitive credit to the members of newly-formed savings and loan groups. © Belkin
Community capital is built up through a separate village development fund, whereby the capital is used to offer competitive credit to the members of newly-formed savings and loan groups. © Belkin
Farmer Htay Htay Hlaing works on her fields with the help of water buffalos. © Brockmann
Farmer Htay Htay Hlaing works on her fields with the help of water buffalos. © Brockmann

A short time afterwards, Welthungerhilfe came to the village and offered professional development courses. This gave Zin Oo the opportunity to learn how to maintain industrial sewing machines and to get a better paid position; now he makes € 80 a month.

In the meantime, his mother obtained another loan for € 30 through the village fund for income-generating measures, which was set up by Welthungerhilfe. This has allowed her to expand her cooked beans business. Working together, they managed to pay off the high-interest debt from the money lender within one year.

Khin Aye has been saving one euro a week since becoming a member of the self-help group. Now she receives a loan at favourable interest rates from the group. "I want to use it to fix the roof of my hut before the rainy season," she says proudly. She is no longer worried about the loan as the terms have been adjusted to her situation. And she has yet more plans: "I would like to have a small store." It is a long and slow journey, but Khin Aye can smile again; the beginning for a life full of plans has been made.

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Current reports
Myanmar: An example of help for self-help

Myanmar: An example of help for self-help

Stefanie Koop reports on her project travels

Steffi Koop visited one of our projects in the south of Myanmar. Her experiences there convinced her once again: help to self-help does work!