In rural Myanmar, most villagers rely on their small vegetable farms for their income. This meager livelihood is dependent on weather conditions, market prices, and their ability to transport crops to a good market. Aung Than’s story is one of determination and innovation. He looked beyond farming for income opportunities that will benefit not only his family but provide jobs and income for other villagers. Aung demonstrates that farming is not the only livelihood option, and by successfully launching an innovative business, he shows other villagers that they can increase their livelihood too.
Aung has a sparkle in his eye. Married, with two young sons, he is full of ambition. He used to grow garlic and ginger on a one acre owned by his parents. Although he produced a large yield of garlic in 2018 crop season, market fluctuation brought a bad price, only $470 US for the entire crop. This motivated Aung to brainstorm with the village monk for other potential income ideas. The monk reminded Aung of the Community Loan Fund started with Shanta that provides low-interest loans to village members and Aung was inspired to start a new business.
Aung borrowed $670 from the Community Loan Fund to start a brick making business. To increase his capital, he invited two friends to join him as business partners. With the loan money, he bought one brick-making machine and one small motor. They work hard to prepare the raw materials and now have regular customers. “Though it has been started with some uncertainty, after some time, I’ve got many customers now,” he proudly said.
A Brighter Future
Aung made $1,200 USD within six months. He has already paid back the borrowed money to the Community Loan Fund and reinvested the income into the growth of his business.
“My goal for this year is to buy a truck to transport the bricks. I am very grateful to Shanta for initiating the Community Loan Fund in our village so that I can borrow money with low interest. Without Shanta, I would still be farming,” he says with happiness and excitement.
Aung Than’s story embodies hope and the spirit of entrepreneurism. Because of your generous support, villagers are now building their dreams.