Women Empowerment

THE POWER OF POSITIVITY

Ms.Nguyen Thi Ket, Giong Bong hamlet, Thoi Lai commune, Binh Dai district, Ben Tre province. Photo: Hieu Le Tran                                      

9 years ago, while heading to work on her bicycle, Ms.Nguyen Thi Ket was hit by a truck, and fell into a coma with multiple serious injuries on her spine, lungs and livers . After spending months in the hospital, she fortunately survived with one paralyzed hand. She can barely lift the arm up and down, however,due to the motionless hand and fingers, the right hand neither can support any of her daily activities.

Since then, from a healthy and full of energy woman, Ms.Ket began to adapt to the physical change, which initially causes various discomfort and distress. Nevertheless, losing one arm doesn’t mean losing her optimism. Instead of ‘crying over the spilled milk’, Ms.Ket was determined to stand up again and overcome the difficulty on her own. Step by step, she learns to do everything with her left hand, not only to live independently, but also take care of her sick mother (who just passed away some months back) while earning their living by raising rabbits, chickens, growing vegetables and especially making coconut jelly for sale.

Thanks to her tenacity, patience and diligence, Ms.Ket has proven that ‘Nothing is impossible’. It’s difficult to imagine, everyday, this lady does everything with one hand, including cooking, watering vegetables, feeding rabbits, and even cracking coconut fruits, peeling off coconut skin or making rabbit cages.

Ms.Ket has been rearing meat rabbits for 4 years. On average, she raises around 100 rabbits one time, and sells around 30 rabbits every three month. The food for rabbits are dried vegetables from her home garden. The cages of rabbits are cleaned up regularly to keep the rabbit healthy.

Ms.Ket can do everything using only one hand, including cracking a coconut. Photo: Hieu Le Tran

As a beneficiary of the Microcredit project in her hometown – Binh Dai district, in the year 2020, Ms.Ket has made a loan worth VND 5 million to invest in rabbit cage building (purchasing materials like wood and steel). “The cage is of great importance, that it ensures the health and safety of the animals”, she said.

Raising rabbits is a dedicated work, requiring a high level of attention and meticulousness. It would make a long list to tell all the tasks Ms.Ket does on a daily basis. It’s beyond keeping the rabbit’s stomach full or their cage clean, but can vary from getting a ‘wanderer’ back home, rescuing a newborn one that just falls off the cage or waking up at midnight to work as a rabbit’s midwife .

Despite her busy schedule, Ms.Ket never appears to be tired. Her shining smile never fails to brighten anyone’s day, and amazes every visitor with distinguished skills like cracking a coconut using only one hand, or you may call it using the ‘POWER of POSITIVITY’.

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Microcredit: The catalyst for change

Ms.Tran Thi Kim Thuy. Photo: Tran Le Hieu

In over the last 10 years, Microcredit has helped thousands of women in Ben Tre province find their way out of poverty. Nowadays, it keeps being the ‘catalyst for change’, helping beneficiaries push their boundaries

Ms.Tran Thi Kim Thuy (50 years old) and her husband are residents of Binh Hoa hamlet, Binh Dai township, Ben Tre province. For the past 30 years, they have been earning their living by selling crops grown in their home garden, such as corns, water spinach and banana. Everyday, they worked hard not only to make the family’s end meets, but also prepare for their children’s future.

In the last recent years, the couple’s effort has paid off. Their son and daughter have completed their education and been living overseas with stable jobs.

At home, Thuy and her husband continue to work on improving the household economy. In early 2020, Thuy’s hometown, Binh Dai township was selected for the expansion of the microcredit project funded by the Microcredit for Mother (MfM) foundation (the Netherlands), a sponsor of MCNV Women Empowerment (WE) program.

Thuy didn’t hesitate to take this chance to realize her goal by registering for membership. She is now member of the township’s group number 4.

Recently, Thuy made a loan worth VND 10 million (1/3 of the total cost) to invest in farming facility: a drip irrigation system.

“Thanks to microcredit group, I have got easy access to the loan I need. The lending procedure was quick and simple, no collateral is required. I therefore could purchase the equipment instantly “, she said.

The drip irrigation system in Ms.Thuy’s garden. Part of the purchase was financed by loan from the microcredit group. Photo: Tran Le Hieu

Since the system was installed, labour and workload have been significantly reduced. Ms Thuy and her husband no longer have to carry heavy buckets of water or continually dragging hoses and sprinklers from one spot to another.

Thank to the drip irrigation system, water is allowed to trickle slowly near the base of the plant through tubing, pipes, valves and emitters. As a result, constant quantities of water are delivered to the plants in a precise and continuous manner. Water hence can penetrate deeply into the soil and get well down into the plants’ root zone. Waste due to evaporation is eliminated while small flow help prevent soil erosion and nutrient runoff.

Since the Mekong Delta in general, and in Ben Tre province in particular has been severely affected by climate change and saltwater intrusion, equipment that can improve water efficiency like the drip irrigation system is a valuable asset.

“The system has been creating healthier growing conditions and higher yields for my garden. The change motivates me to work harder to improve the quality and quantity of the crops, so our vegetables can be sold in supermarkets”, Thuy said.

  • The Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district was launched by MCNV and sponsors in 2009.
  • In 2020, the project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, including Binh Dai township, thanks to the funding of Microcredit for Mothers (MfM) foundation.
  • The project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, providing financial services and facilitate socio-economic inclusion for over 5,000 disadvantaged and poor women, supporting household economy development, response to saltwater intrusion and new rural development.
  • Nowadays, the project has become financially self-sustained, and is being conducted with the permission of the State Bank of Vietnam, Ben Tre provincial branch.

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