Sophie Hoult, VisionFund International
Eight years ago, Cho Cho and her husband were living separately in order to make ends meet. He was in Malaysia working as a taxi driver; and she lived near Myanmar’s capital doing what she could to survive.
While struggling with her husband’s absence in a community where men have more authority Cho Cho noticed that young children were lacking basic life skills that was affecting them at school later in life.
With a dream and a small amount of money Baby Bright Education Centre was born.
When we arrive at the centre on a hot day in January the nursery children are asleep. Lined up in rows, quiet and still. In the next room, teenagers are dutifully yelling responses at the teacher, as they work towards their enrolment exams.
Not long after we arrive, the rows begin to stir, and small, joyful faces file past, on the way to their lunchboxes. After lining up to have their hair combed, the afternoon begins, and the small sleeping figures transform into a mass of smiles, curious gazes and boundless energy.
Cho Cho smiles at the children and tells me that a year after the school opened, she heard about VisionFund (World Vision’s microfinance institution) through a friend and received her first loan of about NZD$290. With it she proudly purchased supplies for the pre-school, something she has done with a subsequent 10 loans from VisionFund. Baby Bright is so successful her husband moved home from Malaysia and he too now runs his own business thanks to VisionFund. Currently they earn NZD$2,170 a month, more than double their income eight years ago.
As we move through the centre, I realise how it is only the size of a small house. Cho Cho has managed to utilize this space for nearly 400 students, over 100 of which are nursery children. Space is definitely an issue, so Cho Cho tells me she continues to work and save, in the hope of expanding and improving the lives of more children.
She turns to me with her big smile and shares her dreams of opening a private school, and continuing to combine her business nous with her calling to serve and empower children. As the economy in Myanmar continues opening itself up to the world, women like Cho Cho will be at the centre of preparing children for the global world, and giving the next generation the best possible start.
Support people like Cho Cho, who shares the same belief as us that children deserves the opportunity to live healthily and to realise their dreams they never thought of. You can help turn a child’s life better and fill it with so much hope by donating to our Giving with Vision fund.