Microloans... 
women minding their own business(es)

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Daw Hla Myo Nwe lives in the delta of Myanmar. She received a $125 loan and raised 35 ducklings and one pig (she earns $1 for 8 eggs). The pig had six piglets - 45 days later, sold them for $35 each, then the mother for $150. She makes altogether over $600 profit per year - and with this, she was able to send her daughter to university. "Before this we knew nothing about these things. Now we are no longer totally dependent on our husbands, and our family life is sweeter, as our husbands can spend more time at home, since they are not totally responsible for supporting the family now. It has also brought social healing to the women in the community. Now we are cooperating with and supporting each other."

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Women in Myanmar used some of the profits from their microloan projects to help build a cyclone shelter for when the next climate-charge Big One hits their delta community. 2008's Cyclone Nargis killed 135,000 people in one night in their country - Myanmar is the world's third most vulnerable country to climate change impacts.

Opia Beatrice - 24-year-old South Sudanese refugee at Pagirinya camp in Uganda. She has four siblings that she needs to care for, as her parents have died. “I thought I should end my life, there was so much against me. Then I found out about this group. I entered the sewing training, took a microloan, bought a machine, and now I can keep my siblings in school. And I have more hope."

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"To you it may seem small, but to me it was life-changing."  Mingma Sherpa

NCP supports microloan projects

to assist women in beginning small businesses in Myanmar, Nepal, Rwanda, Congo and South Sudan.

   The projects provide income for them and their families, build self-esteem, teach business skills, and give them their own money for needed expenses, their children’s education - or to share with others. And the book Drawdown notes that empowering women is a key step in fighting climate change (see text box at left). 

The way it typically works: our partners make a proposal to NCP for the amount of funds needed for women's groups in their location. As NCP's Give a Girl a Chance fund is

able, we respond to this proposal.

   The partner has worked with the women to set up their lending cooperative, so the women have a process in mind for distributing the available money. They discuss their various initiatives with each other, and make 

suggestions for refining their projects. The funds

are then loaned out, according to the women's

needs.

   As their businesses earn income, the women then begin to repay their loans, often with a minimal interest payment.   

 

$30 - $300 = typical loan amounts

Read the sidebars: Small investment, big return!

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Christina, leader of the women's microloan group in Kabumba, Rwanda, told us, “Our husbands used to consider us worthless, as we brought nothing to the table. Now we are earning money to feed our children and send them to school.”

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Mingma Sherpa was sent off from a rural area to be a housekeeper for a wealthier family in Kathmandu when she was 8 years old. She earned $5-$6 per month. Later, her elder sister married her off to an older man she had never met. She ended up in the entertainment sector, where men take advantage of these women - and this is often an entry portal for the sex trade.

   Then she heard about Shakti Samuha, NCP's partner in Nepal. Through Shakti, she received three successive NCP-provided microloans to start a pig project. Now she's earning enough to fully support her family - and save $300 a year. 

   When we told her we were honored to play some small role in her successful venture, she replied, "To you it may seem small, but to me it was life-changing." 

Not exactly a microloan, but NCP has purchased land for two groups of pygmy women whose people were long ago displaced from their forest homes in Rwanda. Landless, they have had to resort to day labor (such as carrying 150-pound sacks of potatoes for $1 a day), scavenging or begging. Our recent fall campaigns purchased plots of 2 and 7.5 acres for them. Here, corn and potatoes are thriving - and they are dancing to welcome our 2022 Learning Tour. But are they doing the Mashed Potato... ;)