With support to start her noodle shop in Myanmar, Ma Hnin is not only securing her children’s future, but improving her community as well.
Every day at Ma Hnin’s small roadside restaurant, locals sit on wooden benches to eat their lunch. Delicious aromas of noodles and fried snacks fill the air.
At a steady pace, Ma Hnin crushes garlic, chops egg and spring onion, grates cabbage, and fries the noodles. Jars of chilli and sauces sit next to small piles of fresh beans and tomatoes, as Ma Hnin prepares dish after dish in front of her eager customers.
It’s street food at its delicious best. And one of the common sights and smells in Myanmar. But what’s far more extraordinary is the woman behind the wok.
Before Ma Hnin started this business, she couldn’t afford food, healthcare or school fees for her three young daughters. A widow, she was trapped in a cycle of debt.
With no formal banking system in her small town, Ma Hnin borrowed from a local moneylender who charged an extremely high interest rate – up to 15 percent per month – which Ma Hnin struggled to repay.
But through a World Vision savings group, Ma Hnin received financial training to save money and a low-interest loan to help open her noodle shop.
Through her new restaurant, Ma Hnin now earns a regular income and can afford to provide for her children. The eldest girls are thriving in school, and her three-year-old knows the alphabet already!
“(My) family is a lot better, we don’t have any difficulty,” Ma Hnin says. “It’s very easy to pay (the loan) back.”
Ma Hnin has been part of her savings group for seven years. “We can rely on each other. I am happy because of this group,” she says.
Group members continue to put money aside and proudly choose to use some of their savings to help others in their community. “(We helped) a kindergarten (receive) nutritious food … We managed to buy school books and we (helped) so a child could have healthcare,” Ma Hnin says.
This budding entrepreneur is proud that she can now pay it forward. And Ma Hnin’s community is better off with the financial knowhow to support each other for many years to come.