I’ve been traveling for the past 2 week to visit villagers who are Kiva borrowers in Myanmar’s Dry Zone. I visited 10 villages in 3 townships, which all in all meant spending about 25 hours on motorbike and 20 hours on a bus. It was a long and tiresome trip. However, I had a chance to learn more about the Proximity Designs’ loan operation on the field and got to know lots of nice and kind people. What I liked the most about the trip were the people; in just nine days they sparked a lot of admiration in me for their dedication and hard work. I was amazed and humbled by everyone I met, from the loan officers who have to travel for long hours to meet with remote farmers all the way to the Kiva borrowers who have to fight to earn a decent living. 

Proximity Loan officers

In the villages there’s no water or  electricity, so villagers uses solar lamps/panels and have to travel to the community pond to get the water. However, they are still happy with their life and try very hard to lift themselves out of poverty. I feel glad to find out that all of the villagers see education as a tool to help them get a better life. Therefore, they are very supportive of their children’s education, and work hard to help them graduate from university if at all possible.

The villagers have to travel to the community pond to get the water

One of the moments when I felt most grateful took place when I visited Shin Ta Khar Village in Pakokku. I interviewed one Kiva borrower, a 60­ year­-old U Thaung, who lives with his six family members and does farming and livestock raising. He’s also part of the community base organization (CBO) member

Kiva borrower from Shin Ta Khar Village. The photo was taken with his thanaka trees.

He used his Kiva loan to buy 5 goats, which he can sell to earn $25 profit each after a year of raising them. He wants to use the money to improve his living situation and invest in education for his children. He said "Education is very important and I want my children to be university graduates.” He was hoping that, in the future,  instead of walking an hour to school every day, there will be a school bus available to send kids to schools in the city or nearby villages which offer higher education. He also aims to open a grocery store for the village to showcase local products to visitors from all over the world. I was impressed by his vision. U Thaung wants to give something back to his community, in addition to improving life for himself and his family. 

If you'd like to support Kiva borrowers in Myanmar, Stay tuned! The new loan from Proximity Design will be up on the Kiva site early 2015. 

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