By Pham Viet Hung
Le Thi De turned over a couple of fried cakes and swiftly served her long queue of customers. The 57-year-old woman who has been known for her delicious home-made traditional cakes said she was looking forward to opening her business in town for more income.
In the past years, she had undergone such a very difficult situation to survive and support her family.
Early 1980s De and her husband ran a sewing factory but it went bankrupt. The family went through a crisis as they did not have land as many people in the neighborhoods did, to grow rice or crops for living.
“We had to borrow boats from our neighbours and went to fish for sale in the market. Every day we got up at 3am to go fishing and returned to the house at lunch time. In the afternoon, both of us worked as casual labourers such as laundry or grass removal on the rice fields for people”, De said.
“Later, I started making cakes to sell for children and local vendors because we lived close to the market and school”, she said.
In 2011, De was introduced to Save the Children’s Golden Hands Programme which aimed to support poor women with young children to improve the household incomes so to gain better lifestyle for their children.
De borrowed VND3.510.000 (US$ 167) to invest in her business including buying cake ingredients and upgrading the house’s yard for people to sit on. The business was going well and De has been engaged in three loans since then. De said the average income now is about VND10million ($476) a month.
Nowadays, De’s two children have grown up and life has become much easier for her.
“I found myself more active and sociable since I have joined Golden Hands. Keeping up with monthly installments is not troublesome, while the credit officers are always willing to lend me a hand or give me wise advice” she said.
“A few months ago, I was invited to participate in the programme’s workshop from where I had an opportunity to meet with other beneficiaries. I have learned a lot from such an event”, she said.