For two years, the Hanoi International Women’s Club (HIWC) has been providing financial support to the social microfinance activities undertaken by Entrepreneurs du Monde among the ethnic minorities in the mountains of the north as part of its programme, Anh Chi Em (ACE).
On 20 and 21 May, a delegation from HIWC visited the field to meet the team and the micro-entrepreneurs supported and to see the progress made.
The beneficiaries of the programme ACE are mostly women whose small agricultural activities have progressed thanks to the provision of one or several loans and training. As their incomes increase, they are able to save, to purchase health insurance and, importantly, to send their children to school.
“All these women are very impressive”, said Alexia Berta, member of the delegation. “The two credit officers we met are very courageous and committed ladies: they carry out this demanding job in addition to all their other responsibilities (farming, households…) which is impressive.”
A sense of community and responsibility
The members of the delegation also attended a training session on the topic of fiscal management. Sixteen women were present, as well as the local ACE loan officer and the village head.
Jessica Haug was struck by the fun side of the training: “Though we didn’t understand the language, the ladies were clearly enjoying themselves and we could see how spending this time together gives them a sense of community and responsibility. The support, education and training the beneficiaries receive in addition to the financing are valuable, and from our perspective, what makes Anh Chi Em special.”
The field visit by the members of the HIWC was thus very positive, as Alexia Berta highlighted: “On behalf of the Hanoi International Women’s Club, I would like to convey our thanks to Anh Chi Em for the wonderful work they are doing with the minority communities and for allowing us to be involved with this project. Our funds could not have been used in a better way. The project is incredibly inspiring and we are happy to see the positive impact it has on the lives of the beneficiaries. We have had a very enriching visit and would encourage others to throw their support behind such microfinancing projects as they are the key to empowering minorities, women and other marginalised groups into self sufficiency and out of extreme poverty.”