Daw Ni, a widow and mother of three girls living in a small village outside Bago, Myanmar, used to support her family by working odd jobs on local farms. A $30 loan from Educational Empowerment’s micro-finance program allowed Daw Ni to open a small business serving mont-hin-gar, a traditional fish-noodle soup, to customers that she welcomes into her home.
Microfinance creates opportunities for women living in poverty to start small business enterprises. In addition to obtaining a higher household income, these women develop increased decision-making power, self-confidence, and community influence.
While the savory scents of ginger, onion, lemongrass, banana stem and fried garlic wafting out to the dirt paths of the village might not lead passersby to think about education, in fact, proceeds from the business have allowed Daw Ni to send her youngest daughter to secondary school, an opportunity usually unavailable to girls in Myanmar. Only 18% of Burmese girls complete secondary school, the lowest rate in all of Southeast Asia. Daw Ni’s youngest daughter is one of the lucky ones. Her two older sisters weren’t as fortunate.
There are many microfinance programs that promise to support women like Daw Ni. What sets Educational Empowerment’s program apart is the holistic, grassroots approach. EE partners with a local Burmese organization that collaborates with villagers to distribute low-cost loans and financial training to support their businesses. Transparency is key. A savings component, group-loan structure, vocational training, and ancillary social and health services ease the burden on loan recipients and help the village thrive.
EE’s community-based microfinance program not only helps mothers keep girls in school but also bolsters local education, with a portion of loan interest dedicated to funding a small primary grade school in the village.
Girls’ access to education should be a basic human right.
Investing in girls’ education bolsters their dignity, saves mother’s and children’s lives, and improves the socio-economic status of the entire community.
To take immediate action:
- Join Girls Globe conversation on Twitter @GirlsGlobe
- Donate to Educational Empowerment here.
- Organize an event for International Day of the Girl, October 11th, to create awareness for girls’ rights
- Let your voices be heard for girls worldwide!
Please visit us at www.educationalempowerment.org & follow us on Facebook at EE, Twitter @EEmpower, and on Instagram
Educational Empowerment was created by women for women and girls. EE promotes literacy and education for children, families and communities in Myanmar severely affected by poverty and injustice. By empowering women and girls through education, we position women in Myanmar to attain their equal rights.