U Pain, is married with a three year old child and lives in Southern Shan state in Myanmar. U Pain was in a desperate position. Falling prices of goods at market meant that agriculture was no longer a viable livelihood option. He was unable to pay for medical expenses and was concerned he would be unable to provide his child, who was due to shortly start school, with an education. In order to provide for his family, U Pain was forced to turn to high interest loans; incurring debts that he was unable to repay.

Cord has been working with Muditar, a local organisation in Southern Shan state, which helps communities to access basic services and to improve their livelihoods. Through training and support, Cord has enabled Muditar to become increasingly confident in project management and communication skills. Cord has provided funding to Muditar in order that they can put their new skills into practice. Crucially, this includes the establishment of community banks in five villages, including in U Pain’s.

U Pain approached his village community bank for help, he needed financial assistance to release him from the burden of high interest loans that trapped him and his family in poverty. They helped U Pain to apply for, and secure, a community bank loan – one that he would find much easier to repay. 

“Our family has borrowed 100,000 kyats (£57) from the Community Bank… we only need to pay 3% interest on our loan…which is not a heavy burden for us. With this loan, we have been able to significantly extend our family business.”

Not only that, the structure of the community bank enables U Pain to make a small contribution from his profits to support local healthcare and education, which means this approach is helping both its customers and the wider community. Equipped with the skills and the confidence required to manage his loan, U Pain has strengthened his business and his family’s prospects have been transformed.

For families like U Pain’s, it has meant the difference between living in poverty and despair – a hope-filled life; with the ability to provide an education for their children and the freedom of access to the basic services that the family needs to build a future.