In Burma women have limited access to the labour market and employment opportunities are often restricted to low-skilled jobs with marginal wages. Culture for micro Credit (CmC) is a Dutch foundation that supports Burmese women who hope to set up their own businesses. Local teams at CmC provide micro-credit to groups of women who support each other in setting up small businesses to become independent.
In 2012 one of our supporters asked that friends donate money to Philanthropy Connections in lieu of birthday presents. We were able to use these birthday donations to support around 120 Burmese women who wanted to start their own businesses.
Despite introducing legislation in 2008 to ensure equal pay for equal work, Burmese women earn significantly less than men in the labour market, especially in the poorest, most rural areas.
Micro-credit loans offer an alternative to this labour inequality. Loan recipients can use the funds to invest in equipment such as sewing machines, or to rent a small shop or outlet, or to buy food or items to sell. Having access to these business resources enables women to build independent livelihoods and bridge the labour gap between men and women.
When a micro-credit loan is repaid the funds are used to support the expansion of an already-existing business, or to allow another woman to start a business of her own.
Goals and Results
In November 2012 when Ms. Trees Rooijendijk celebrated her 60th birthday, she asked her friends and family to donate to Philanthropy Connections for a micro-credit project. We directed these funds to Culture for micro Credit, who used the money to finance a women’s group in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State in Burma.
The financial support enabled 120 women to launch their own small businesses. The ability to earn their own income not only enabled them to provide for their families, but also increased their self-esteem and independence.