on the silk route 2010 / 2012


During my Silk Route trip to Burma, I would like to promote some heart touching projects I meet on the way.

The first project that I would like to bring under your attention is that of Foundation Culture for micro Credit (CmC) working in Burma, the destination i’m hoping to reach. Through a communal friend I heard about these projects in Burma. San, founder of Culture for micro Credit visits Burma already over 12 years and started a local goodwill co operation. Women can get a loan of 100$ to start their own small business. As you can read on the CmC blog, the micro credits are a great success. “We couldn’t have hoped for more!” she said when i met San. During our encounter i felt San is one of those rare souls who can make an unpretentious change and this is exactly why i want to ask attention for her projects.

The cultural part of the foundation is the calendar they launch, with pictures from Burma. I would like to invite you to donate and receive a 2010 calendar as a present.

Micro credits have proved to be an overwhelming success in Burma!

Word has spread swiftly through towns and villages, leading to the number of loans being approved more than doubling in less than seven months. Micro credits have allowed the local people to implement simple but effective business ideas, providing not only much needed income, but also a sense of pride and empowerment. We now have almost 200 families across Burma, benefiting from loans, creating them all a more stable present and a brighter future. Further to the loans, all the children of those participating in the scheme are offered the opportunity to win a financial reward if they gain top grades in school, thus encouraging excellence in education. There are too many tales to tell, but we have selected some special stories!

Most importantly we would like to express our thanks to the people of Burma, who have dedicated themselves to making this scheme a success, choosing applicants, ensuring 100% repayment, meticulous accounting, auditing and more.

Micro Credit Christmas Stories

Kyi Kyi: Sewing It All Together

Reaching her mid twenties and still unmarried, Kyi Kyi decided that she wanted to pursue a life beyond the small town where she grew up.

Having completed high school a number of years previous, she decided to resume her studies, this time in an external learning program specializing in Law.

To help meet the additional school fees, Kyi Kyi rented a sewing machine and utilizing the skills she had learned from her mother,spent free time producing curtains, sheets and other household items for neighboring families.

Her enterprise was a success, but the cost of rental was high and had no long term benefits. With this in mind she applied for a micro credit of 100,000 Kyat. The loan allowed her to buy herself two second hand machines, each with a separate function that allowed her to broaden the range of products she was able to produce. The hard work paid off, and her smart scheme enabled her to finance her education and repay the loan.

Today Kyi Kyi has recognized her dream and is living in the city, working in a law firm. Before leaving home, she passed on the machines to her sister, who works as a teacher, but learning from her siblings success, supplements her income by continuing the sewing business.

We are so very proud of their achievement – we couldn’t have done it without them! With the start of the New Year it is time to promote the Burma Calendar 2010. Our goal for the new year is to establish a large network in one of the poorest areas of Burma – it will be a huge undertaking and to succeed we will need your help! $100 is the average size of one loan, and makes the difference between a family just surviving, to a family flourishing. One calendar builds a block towards providing this – and so we think makes for a perfect gift!

We women foundation

Hester came across the We women foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand this past August, and met with founder and fellow Dutch country-woman, Ursula Cats. She instantly connected with the organization’s mission of assisting unrecognized refugee women from Burma, and wanted to take part. Hester learned of a Dutch competition called World of Difference, which awards a one year salary to individuals looking to work for charitable organizations. She immediately joined the competition in the hopes of earning a one year’s salary to work at We women.

The We women foundation launched its first project, We women from Burma project, in March 2010. The long-term aim of the project is is to assist unrecognized refugee women from Burma into obtaining higher positions within policy making or influential organizations so that they then can empower other women and their communities, on their own terms.

Many refugee women from Burma feel impassioned and motivated to take part in the struggle to gain human rights for their people, but without higher education, they are often pushed back into traditional roles that do not permit them the freedom and mobility to contribute. The We women foundation strives to build capacity and assist these women in accessing higher education and in becoming leaders in their communities. This is achieved through student coaching, English TOEFL preparation, professional development, scholarships, and long-term support for undergraduate and graduate degrees. To learn more about We women and to support their cause, please visit: Wewomenfoundation.org

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