Luyen and the Community Development Fund

Posted on May 16, 2017

Life on just $3 a day

Luyen is a hard-working, single mother. Single-handedly, she supports her 16-year old son and elderly mother.

Luyen lives in Soc Trang province, the poorest area in Vietnam. Without any land, she had to work as a wage labourer in other people's fields. Even though Luyen would wake up at 5am and work for 12 hours in the scorching heat, she only earned $3 a day for her backbreaking labour. Her family was barely scraping by. 

“Sometimes, I couldn’t even afford to buy proper clothes for my son,” Luyen said. “During the rainy season, he’d be sick all the time.”

But all of that changed last year, when Luyen joined our Community Development Fund (CDF).

Community Development Fund

Many rural, poor communities have difficulty accessing financing. Sadly, desperate families in the area might turn to predatory lenders who charge extreme interest rates.

The CDF offers an alternative with just 1% interest. By providing training in their chosen business, the Fund also connects people to the skills and resources they need to build their own long-term livelihoods to lift themselves out of poverty.

Learn exactly how the Community Development Fund works here >

Money in the piggy bank

Last year, Luyen joined our Community Development Fund. With a loan of just AUD$200, Luyen bought pigs—a smart business investment in Vietnam. Pigs provide both meat to eat, piglets to sell, biogas to burn, and manure to fertilise crops.

In the first year, Luyen’s pig gave birth to 9 piglets. From the sale of the piglets, Luyen was able to cover the cost of the animal feed, her loan repayments, and still had some left over to save for her family.

Luyen also learned how to harvest and dry water hyacinth, which grows freely in the nearby canals. She earns $80 a month selling dried stalks to be made into baskets and furniture. She and others in the community are hoping for a basket weaving training. Being able to weave the baskets at home, they could sell their harvests for a much higher price.

A brighter future

Today, Luyen no longer has to work in the field. She earns a better income working at home, where she can be with her family.

“Before, we weren’t living,” said Luyen. “We were barely surviving. Now, we have plans. Now, we can think about the future. My son will go to school. He’ll have a better life.”

The Community Development Fund has already issued over 400 loans in Soc Trang province, but there are more families still in need.

Support our Community Development Fund. Transform the lives of a family in Vietnam.