Leu Thi Hanh and her husband earned their living from a small grocery at the end of Thoi Thuan B Village in Thoi Lai District, Can Tho Province.
Living remote from the village’s crowd, the 44-year-old Khmer woman have to rent the space at VND250,000 (US$13) to run her shop. With limited investment, Hanh only made about VND50,000 ($2.6) a day and would struggle to make ends meet. The biggest difficulty she met is the shortage of capital to purchase enough products for sale, making her to take many trips to the suppliers when having excessive customer demands.
Hanh was introduced to the Save the Children Golden Hands programme in 2012 through the local Women Union. The programme funded by Chevron aims to support poor women to improve their income through small loans and economic training.
Hanh was eligible for the first loan of 3,122,000 VND (US$ 150) for a period of 18 months from the Golden Hands to expand her shop with more ranges of products to sell. Her shop looked more attractive and the number of customers has been increasing, bringing about more profits. When she had a decent number of royal customers, Hanh decided to open the shop at her house.
With credible payment records, Hanh was then allowed for the second loan of VND5,625,000 ($ 268) to expand her business. She started to sell baguettes for local people for extra income. Now with two sources of income, Hanh and her husband’s living condition has been much improved. “Totally, we can earn about VND8 million a month, almost five times of the profit from my corner shop”, she said.
“Before having access to Golden Hands loans, I would struggle to invest in goods for sale, the business is much better now. I can sell up to VND1,500,000 ($ 72) worth of goods items a day. During public events such as Lunar New Year (Tết), the turnover is much more”, she said.
“Many suppliers now agree to provide their products at my house so I don’t need to travel”, she said.
Every day Hanh started her baguette business at 4am to serve early breakfast customers. She has just bought a new television and gas cookers for their convenience.
“I would like to continue to have more loans to expand my business. However, I would like to complete the current payment first”, she said.