|Receiving a preferential loan from the "Help Friends" fund, H'Hyel from Ngó Village, Trà Bá Ward in Pleiku could afford to buy a pig and expand her farm. — VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Điệp|
GIA LAI — After harvesting their rice crops, women in Trà Ba Ward in Pleiku City, the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, usually contribute rice and cash to a fund called “Help Friends”.
With the fund, the women’s union of the ward offers preferential loans to its members who face financial difficulties in managing their business and production.
Since the fund was started in 2017, nearly 100 women have accessed loans worth nearly VNĐ800 million (US$35,300)
H'Sem, head of the Women's Union of Ngó Village in Trà Ba Ward, said that the village had more than 120 members divided into eight groups.
Twice a year, after the rice harvest, each member of the group contributed rice and cash to the fund, she said, adding that the amount of rice/cash given to the members depended on their conditions and needs.
People would take turns to borrow rice or cash, H’Sem said.
As a family that has just received support from the "Help friends" fund, H'Hyel from Ngó Village said that in June 2021, she received a loan of VNĐ100 million.
With the loan and her family's savings, she built a new house to replace the old one. In addition, she also spent some money on buying more seeds and fertiliser for her coffee gardens and rice fields, she said.
“I will work hard to return the loan and contribute more to the fund,” she said, adding that once the fund was maintained, other women in the village would have the chance to access preferential loans or rice to invest in their farming work and business.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Union in Thắng Lợi Ward, Pleiku City created a Facebook account “Nông sản sạch” (Clean farming products) to help its members, particularly those from ethnic groups to sell farming products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rah Lan H’Điệp, head of Women’s Union in Chuet 2 Village in Thắng Lợi Ward said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, local farmers faced difficulties in selling their fruit, vegetables, meat and poultry.
“As the page “Nông sản sạch” was launched, we could introduce local farming products to many more consumers and find outputs for the products,” she said.
“Women who have products sold on the page are very happy as they still earn some money during the pandemic,” she said.
In addition to effective models to help women overcome difficulties, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gia Lai City Women's Union has also cooperated with departments, branches and organisations to offer vocational training classes, introduce jobs and preserve traditional occupations.
Nguyễn Thị Hồng Vân, chairwoman of the city's Women’s Union, said that such activities were very helpful in creating jobs and stable incomes for local women members.
The union currently has 175 branches at the grassroots level, of which 37 branches are based in villages with ethnic minority groups.
“To take care of members' lives and tighten their solidarity, the Pleiku City Women's Union has built many practical models to support members, especially ethnic minorities,” Vân said, noting that models that proved effective would be expanded throughout the city. — VNS