Changemaker: Thireindar Min
Shining Horizon was born out of the idea that tackling poverty at grassroots level would be the most effective way in alleviating povert, as such households are those who suffer the most. Therefore, the goal of this CAP is to provide easy access to loans by poor families for their basic emergency needs, such as health care, education and/or disaster relief, out of the capital raised by themselves. Shining Horizon plans to achieve its goal by providing micro credit training to 50 households with 250 population in Chaungpyagyi village in Pantanaw Township, about 100 km west of Yangon. It is in the delta of the Ayeyarwaddy River, which used to be known as the ‘granary of Myanmar’ because of its rich annual harvest of rice, but now reeling in the aftermath of cyclone, Nargis. This project now enables them to speed up the recovery from the effects of cyclone and also provide them with a system to stay out of hardship in the long run.
In addition, formation of a micro credit society on completion of their training would cultivate and promote self-reliance and collective efforts to ease poverty among the poor. The project also empowers women within the community by giving them high priority in membership and participation in the programme. Moreover, youths from local community organisations are invited to attend the micro credit trainings. Thus, it provides them with the chance to learn how a micro credit group operates and thereby kindling a spirit for poverty alleviation
As the name indicates, “Shining Horizon” portrays the bright future that lies ahead for the poor.“Shining Horizon” was launched on 15th July 2010, starting with a 3-day training to 50 participants. Village elders turned out and gave us a warm welcome. The interest in our program shown by them raised the interest not only in the village we were in, but also in neighbouring Payazu and Obo villages from where men and women, ranging in age 16 to 65 attended the training classes. There were about 50 who attended the course. It was very encouraging to see the amount of interest shown by them in my programme and their enthusiasm to form micro credit groups.
Though it was expected that only one micro credit group would emerge, Shining Horizon now have 4 saving groups with 76 participants and they are the middle aged group (27 members), young men group(17 members), young women group (26 members) and new youth group(6 members). Similarly, not only the 50 who attended the training benefited from the programme, but an additional 26 people also enjoyed the fruits similarly by becoming familiar with the programme from others who acquired their knowledge from the training. Moreover, two neighbouring villages, Obo and Payasu, also joined although Chaungpyagyi village was the initial target. 125 trees have planted in respective villages to protect the environment as well.
In addition to the above results, Shining Horizon had widened their views in the value of community spirit that they are now less dependent on others and embarked upon a remarkable and highly commendable project of their own. The villagers contributed three days each of voluntary service in manufacturing bricks for a public community hall. Supervised by those with experience, they made bricks out of clay and baked them in a kiln. Construction of the hall is about half complete.
The project gained recognition from other surrounding villages as well as the responsible leaders of the local council. These neighbouring villagers are now becoming aware of the benefits of saving money and planning to join the new group established. This shows that Shining Horizon succeeded in cultivating a sense of motivation for getting out Moreover, there was an encouraging international response from my fellow Global Changemakers. I was also requested to present Shining Horizon at the Global Changemakers Workshop by the Global Changemakers Team Burma at Traders Hotel. To sum up, the results were very encouraging, inspiring and the outcome exceeded the initial expectations of the project.