Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, VisionFund International (VisionFund), the microfinance arm of children’s charity World Vision, has pledged over $1.2 million in funding to support over 32,000 women in 2019 in Armenia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Vietnam from its Women’s Empowerment Fund, a fund established to empower women’s ability to improve their livelihoods and benefit their children. The fund complements VisionFund’s existing microfinance programs in the five countries by providing extra resources for business training and loans.
Thin Thin Mar from Myanmar was a beneficiary of the Women’s Empowerment Fund in 2017 and 2018. She lives with her husband, their two children and three nieces and nephews. She and her husband have land where they grow flowers. Struggling to make enough money to look after her family, Thin Thin took out a loan of US$400 that she used to purchase fertilizer, insecticide and flower seedlings which enabled her flower business to bloom and her family’s lives to dramatically improve. Buoyed by her success, Thin Thin plans to build a new house that will provide better shelter, to drill a well for clean water and to purchase a generator to provide electricity.
Johanna Ryan, Global Director of Impact, VisionFund International explained, "In VisionFund’s fifteenth anniversary year, we look back over the years and celebrate the achievements of women like Thin Thin who have worked hard to grow their business and raise their family’s living standards. I was struck most recently in Myanmar by the benefits to both women and children gained by loans provided through the Women’s Empowerment Fund. Women spoke of their increased confidence, and the pride they took in being able to afford their children’s education, not just high school but even university education."