Supporting other women is a very gifted opportunity. I have been very fortunate to help other women in my life. It was in 2012 when I decided to support a group of young women. We were in the same organization, but I worked for the head office of my county while they worked at a field office in a small town in delta region. They were young, talented, and energetic. They worked hard. I could see that they have many potentials. I could see that they wanted to improve in their technical skill. I could see that they wanted to read books. But, technical or subject matter books were rare. Although the organization tried to support as much as possible, such as sending them e-book with CD-ROM, access to computer was limited. And they did not have smart phone nor computers. By that time in my country, smart phones and computer were still expensive for a lot of people including for them.
After speaking with them and seeing their motivation, I offered an option and checked if they were interested. They were! The option was that I shared some amount of money every month, and they also shared some smaller amount. And each month, one of them would buy either a smart phone or a computer. And we made it within six months that all their group members owned either a smart phone or a computer. ( I don’t remember the exact number but I think it was five of them). And when I saw them 4 years later in 2016, I found them improved. All of them were in a better job positions. Seeing people I helped grow was a very wonderful moment in my life.
In 2020 around May, I also was able to listen to one of my childhood friends who needed to share her worries and concerns after her childbirth. Her mental conditions was also affected due to COVID-19 situation. We talked more than a couple times. I am so glad that she found it helpful when I talked to me when she was in the most needy situation and she become back to near normal. Seeing her again to normal condition was a very satisfying moment for me. And I realized that I have been very fortunate to help other women.
In 2019-2020, I received tremendous support from women! Mentally as well as financially. They were from all different sources: From women professors and classmates from academic field, some women I’ve known years ago, women from a scholarship program called P.E.O, and my sisters and nieces! (I should not leave men professors, my brothers and nephews who were as very supportive as the women I met during these years). It was miracle to see women helping women!
During these days, the word “mental health” especially “Mom’s mental health” came to my mind quite often. I spoke with a mom who has depression. At first I cannot decide whether it was the baby blues (which last usually a few weeks after delivery) or postnatal depression. When I looked for the literature and checked with the Edinburg Postnatal Depression score (EPDS)1, it seemed to be PDS. Then, I started to think about sharing knowledge for women regarding hormonal changes, mental health, how to prepare and cope for it.
1. Cox, J. L., Holden, J. M., & Sagovsky, R. (1987). Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.
British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 782-786.
As many of our fear and uncertainty grows, some people started to blaming to other, the health care system, and to the infected population. It is not the time to blame! Blaming would not stop the spread of the virus. Taking self-responsibility, collective measures, and helping each other can eventually win this unforeseen battle with a bug.
This is a perfect test to self-realize as a united world that how much we are prepared with such a threat. We, as human being, thought that we are the most intelligent creatures, and yet, we failed to response collaboratively!
This is a time to stop blaming. This is the time to prevent spread of disease by taking self responsibility and more importantly to help others.
When citizens experience the benefit of choosing the right candidate who are doing a good cause, they start to interest in voting however, they do not aware of their rights fully. This is how ESP starts to facilitate voter education event in collaboration with NGOs/CBOs working for rights and voter education, and the ward administrative authorities and the community based women groups.
During the micro-finance project,I visited to the villages. I am very glad to see that the women really work hard! They are the bread-earners. They played a key role in contributing the family’s earning, in addition to being housewives who took care of the whole family’s daily household choir, being lovely and caring mothers, being a good sisters and aunts.
That is why, micro-finance projects are contributing not just money! It is more than that. It empowers women to take care of their families. It empowers to have more confident. Women as per our culture tend to stay at home. But the micro-finance project empowers them to stand out in the community, to network with other people from the community, and give opportunity to share ideas, thoughts and feeling.
Small but contributing the betterment of lives of people.
ESP loan given to the women is very small. However, it is contributing the lives of rural women in Myanmar. A woman who made Myanmar snacks said ” the loan helps me expend my existing work. ESP loan is good as we don’t need to show any documents, and we don’t need to show up biweekly as other organization would ask”.
Another woman said, ” Now we are not taking loans from any organization but from ESP” . ESP does not ask the borrowers to show any proof of residency in the village or to take any things for borrowing them. With trust, ESP gives loan to the women. ESP believes that the women, although they are poor, will definitely pay back on schedule. They all did. It has been 3 years ESP operate the microfinance projects in two villages. Repayment rate is 100%!
Why ESP targets women?
ESP_Myanmar believes that women have tremendous capabilities given the situation that they have opportunities. Women, if they have money, they share with their children, families and ultimately, with the communities.
Lending women empower them to boost the existing resources, and giving more decision making skill. We call your attention to support as many women as possible.