“When I was a child, my family struggled just to survive.” Ma Myint Myat Thu says.
“They could not afford to pay for me to get an education. I only attended school until second grade and then quit school to work with my family in different places. We moved to Thailand in 2007 because of the lack of job opportunities in Myanmar. We found there are more opportunities in Thailand. It is easier to make a living here. ”
“After that I worked both in factories and in fields as a laborer. I made just enough money to feed my family. I never had extra money to save for the future.”
“I decided to try and run my own business selling vegetables. I saw that at the fresh market, vegetables are the best-selling items. Four years ago I invested 2000baht($65USD) into starting a vegetable selling business. I have run this business since then. I buy vegetables from farms and sell them at the market. If it’s a good day I make about 400baht($12-$13USD) profit/day. It depends on the number of customers. Some days are very challenging. If I have no customers, all the vegetables are spoiled and I lose my investment.”
“Now I am a member of the FARM savings group (Village Savings and Loan Association). I did not save before the team came and showed us how. But I did do pretty well at financial management. Now, from my business, I save a small amount. With my savings at the end of the savings cycle I bought a small amount of gold. I can easily sell it for cash if an emergency comes.
The market fee is 2,500baht($77USD) / month. Even with that expense I still make enough for my family, and extra to keep. I send my seven year old son to school and support my whole family with this business. I sometimes support events in the community with some cash. Although I have run my own business for some time, the Basic Business Training helped me to have a more comprehensive understanding of how it works, and tools to run it better. It taught me how to run my own business, to handle challenges so that the business keeps going, and also how to use our money more wisely in general.”
“If this current business is successful, my dream is to go back to my own country and run and expand this business in Myanmar.”
Your support for the Family Enterprise Program is a hand up, a way to strengthen and equip families to be independent and strong. You give this woman the ability to send her child to school, something she never had, and to save for her family’s future. You give her the hope she needs to dream for the future, and the resources to turn those dreams into reality.
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Story and interview by Char Lay, our communications intern. Char Lay is from the Karen hill tribe and native to Myanmar. He spent most of his childhood in a refugee camp on the Thai/Myanmar border. Now he is completing his education.