TWO PIGS

DAW MA SEIN
Daw Ma Sein lives in a small town in Northern Burma and until recently her husband was the family's sole provider. He earns a small but stable income as a tri-shaw driver, transporting people and goods round the town and neighboring villages.
The couple have three sons, the youngest of whom survived polio as a toddler, but was left with severe physical and mental handicaps that require constant care and attention.

Despite their relatively poor background, Daw Ma Sein wanted her children to have the best possible start in life, and on completing high school, encouraged her eldest son to apply for a place at University in Mandalay.
Needing to provide additional funds for a maturing family, whilst still needing to be at home to tend to her youngest son, she decided to apply for a micro credit loan.
Daw Ma Sein was awarded 60,000 Kyat with which she purchased two young pigs and built a small barn for them on her land. Reaching maturity, the male was sold for 100,000 Kyat. The sow gave birth to six healthy piglets half of which were sold at birth and the other half reared to adulthood and then sold for a higher price.

From a simple idea and with the help of a micro credit, the family now has a long term additional source of income; enough to pay back the loan, support their son's education and provide a better standard of day to day living.

AT THE MARKET

DAW MU MU AYE
In the market in Hsipaw, Daw Mu Mu Aye sells fried tofu, fritters and fried onion. She started this business after her husband passed away. Using a micro credit she was able to expand her business, she could buy more ingredients and produce more of her deepfried treats. Daw Mu Mu Aye has 2 daughters and 2 sons. Her daughters help her at the market. With the special educational loan program for members, one of her daughters was able to

Daw Mu Mu Aye says she will always come here to borrow money, as it is always the cheapest option. And she continues: "that it is not just the money, she feels attached to the office. "You can always ask for advice. The office can help with consultancy, research and is like an information centre. The organisation gives me energy and encouragement."

DAW KHIN THEIN WIN
Daw Khin Thein Win sells vegetables at the market. In the beginning she could borrow 5 lak ($ 217) and now she can borrow $ 500. She pays back on a daily basis. She will be able to pay back the $ 500 within 2 months.

The micro credit has made a big positive impact on her life. "Because of the micro credit I could start up this business and expand. Now I can take care of my family. Being a member of the micro credit organization I can also borrow money for my children's education. This makes a huge difference in my life and my children's life."

Daw Khin Thein Win thinks she will always have to borrow, [saving in a bank is not easy in Burma and health insurance is non existing], for her business, health issues or for the education of her children. "But even if I wouldn't need money I would want to stay part of the organisation, it feels like a big family. The organisation is more than the money, the advice and coaching is as or even more important than the money."

Her goal in life with the micro credit is to send her son to University; her daughter sells flowers in the market, and she would like to build a house for her family with the help of micro credit.

MORE FLOWERS

U AUNG MYINT, 58 year old.
U Aung Myint sells flowers from a wheelbarrow. He has always sold flowers and he joined the microcredit organization 14 years ago. The micro credit enables him to purchase more and therefore sell more. Before he struggled to sell enough to take care of his family until friends told him about the micro credit.

In the beginning U Aung Myint borrowed a maximum of $300 dollar, and because he always paid back on time he can now get up to $500. Because of this raise he was able to buy more wheelbarrows and have employees or friends sell flowers in other villages. His income is very irregular, but he pays back on a daily basis.

U Aung Myint has 6 children, the eldest are already married and no longer need him to take care of them. The youngest are triplets and are still in middle school. His goal in life is to give his triplets a good education, as he wasn't educated.

TWO SISTERS

YI YI & THI THI HTAY
After leaving school, two young sisters Yi Yi and Thi Thi Htay like many of their peers, struggled to find stable jobs with which to support themselves. Time passed and without finding suitable husbands, it became more and more difficult to make ends meet.
Actively seeking to change their fortunes the girls heard rumor of lucrative work in China, and were put in touch with a woman who could help. Jobs were promised and they soon found themselves en route to a new life. Unfortunately it was not long before the girls faced the frightening reality was that there were no jobs and they were actually being sold into prostitution. Terrified, desperate and with their lives in danger they made their brave escape spending days in hiding before being helped by police to find their way back home.

With their lucky escape behind them, the girls were all the more determined not to give up, and hearing of the micro credit co-operative, filed an application.
The sisters were awarded a loan of 100,000 kyats which they invested into buying a supply of dried fish from Mandalay and made a living selling it in their home town for a small profit. Theirs was a simple scheme that was rewarded by success and all that they'd dreamt of - a steady income and sense of pride.

RESTAURANT

SAN SAN AYE
San San Aye was a happy, hard working wife and mother when three years ago, her husband died, leaving her widowed and with four children to support.

Fortunately, the family had by this time established a popular noodle shop in the center of the local market. Using the restaurant profits she was able to continue to send the younger children to school and her eldest son to Russia to study engineering at a military academy.
As her younger daughters matured and left school, times became more difficult, as more income was needed if she was to provide them with the same opportunities as her son.

With an astute business mind, she knew that she wanted to continue what she did best, and there was room for another restaurant in the town.
San San Aye applied for a micro credit loan and was awarded 100,000 Kyat. With this she set about renting new premises, purchased kitchen equipment, food stuffs and new cutlery, bowls and cups. With little work available locally, one of her daughters was keen to manage the new business, having learned the trade from her mother.

The plan was a success and now with two flourishing shops, the family was able to repay the loan and with additional profits the youngest daughter was able to take up university studies.

RIVER BOAT

DAW MI MI
Seven years ago, Daw Mi Mi suffered the tragic loss of both her husband and her brother, which left her caring for not only her own children, but also the seven nieces and nephews that her sibling left behind.
All the family lived together in a basic bamboo dwelling on the banks of the river, and to make ends meet, she and her daughters earned a small income from carrying sand needed for construction work. Struggling to make ends meet and provide for the growing needs of the children, she soon realized that a more lucrative form of business was required if they were to sustain themselves.

Daw Mi Mi's only hope was a traditional wooden river boat that she'd inherited, and left abandoned for many years as she didn't have the money needed to repair the broken engine, and make it "river ready" once again.
After being awarded a micro credit of 100,000 Kyat, fortunes for her and her family soon changed. A new engine was installed and rotten wood on the hull replaced. Once the work was complete Daw Mi Mi was able to take on what once had been her husband's trade – that of a boatman transporting goods, foodstuffs and people up and down the river.

The new enterprise prospered and little by little the family began to thrive. Today their home has been repaired inside and out, new blankets bought for the winter and clothing and school uniforms purchased for the children. With the tough times behind them, they all look forward to a brighter future.

TOY STORY

NOE THAY
Noe Thay lives with her husband and two children in the north of Burma. Her husband has always provided support and a stable income, working as a tractor driver, transporting people and goods to and from nearby towns and villages.

Over time, life in her home town changed as more goods began to flow in from neighboring countries. Clothes, toys and household items were becoming more abundant at lower prices and noticing the popularity of these new items sparked a business idea that Noe Thay felt would help support her growing family.

After being awarded a micro credit of 100,000 Kyats, Noe Thay set about purchasing a range of toys that she would then take with her husband when he travelled further a field, to sell in villages where the goods were not yet readily available.
Slowly her business flourished with word spreading between families, and as demand for the toys grew she was able to build a steady client base. Noe Thay's transition from housewife to businesswoman delighted her and as profits rolled in she was able to repay the loan, prepare her son for a place at university and also to invest in her second income generation initiative – rearing pigs!

CULTURE FOR MICRO CREDIT