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Oxfam the Beast

Hla Tint & Oxfam the Cow By Aye Lei Tun, Communications Officer

Midway through applying ‘Thanaka’ to her face – a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark, Hla Tint warmly welcomed the entire Oxfam team into her home. We had asked to visit her to discuss the changes that had taken place since Oxfam had started working with people in her village, Than Pawe, six months earlier.

Just as we were about to sit on a bench outside her house she started calling “Oxfam, come here. Please come here”. We thought she was shouting to us so we started getting up again, but on the contrary – it was a cow she had called.

Then Hla Tint continued, “As the amount of daily savings willing to be contributed by participants varied, we finally agreed on saving 300 kyat (USD 30¢ a day), an amount everyone can afford. I’d never experienced saving money before, but I came to understand that these savings would be ours someday. This could provide capital for one of my family members to start a small business. That’s why, I am pleased with saving.”

“We also have an old cow, but she can no longer produce milk. So, the new one is an investment in our future and we are expecting to get baby cows from her next year. How nice it will be if we can sell these calves and milk Oxfam everyday. I want to use the income to start up a small grocery shop.” Hla Tint then confided that she wanted to do this so that she could keep her children close to her and so that they didn’t have to leave the village or area to find work.

Another plus for Hla Tint and her involvement with Oxfam’s work is that she is now participating more in community discussions.

“The village committee supervises the funds, and as these committee members are my neighbors I’m not afraid to challenge them if they do something wrong, or if I disagree with them. Similarly, I’m ready to help out and cooperate with the committee when needed”

Hla Tint plans to buy another cow when she withdraws her savings in 250 days time. She is dreaming about a lot of cows standing in her yard and she imagines that as her Oxfam grows bigger and fatter, so do her hopes for her family and village.

We need to wait a few months to see if her dreams come true.

Hla Tint checking her savings

  1. 2 Responses to “Oxfam the Beast”

  2. By AUNG on Aug 30, 2010

    That sounds is Great!
    Where is her village?

  3. By dowp on Sep 14, 2010

    Than Pwe Village, Thazi Township :)

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