Displaced into jungle camps by the ongoing conflict in Myanmar, the lives of five women were changed for the better when they were selected for an intensive small business skills course, initiated by Zaw Tu Hkawng (Myanmar Young Leaders Programme 2017).
The women, who had little more than three or four years of primary education, learned valuable skills on the course which they have used to build their own small businesses. The self-esteem and pride of bringing home an income for their families, has truly transformed their lives.
Through skills sharing and collaboration, they have established small shops in the camps selling basic items such as salt, oil, eggs, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, ginger, ready-made noodles, fish sauce, and condensed milk.
One of the women, Lahtaw Hkawn Ra, the family breadwinner, had been in the camp for 12 years, and jumped at the chance to bring in a regular income.
Hkawn Ra said: “This project taught me how to help others by satisfying our client’s requirements. My perspective on business has expanded; it is not only about getting money. Secondly, this project has also taught me to be more patient with myself and others… Due to my lack of formal education, I was terrified to participate in the project. Now, when I go to bed, I know exactly how many goods I sold and how much money I made since I meticulously recorded each transaction”.