Voices for Change Newsletter Issue 8: Labour Not in Vain

In Singapore, we can work knowing that at the end of the day, we will get paid for our labour.

What about families in broken economies?

This Labour Day, let's remember those who work with no certainty of covering their basic needs. They are impoverished farmers, wondering if their crops will produce yield. Mothers, struggling to provide for malnourished kids because they do not have access to finances. And children who drop out of school to work as child labourers.

For them, the chance to start and grow a small business can change their world.

Pathways to Recovery Post-Disaster

When calamities strike, livelihoods are wiped out and financial services come to a halt. In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Super Typhoon Yolanda), millions of Filipinos were no longer able to make a living or repay existing loans. To prevent them from spiralling into poverty, VisionFund, World Vision's microfinance arm, came up with Bangon loans, a one-time recovery loan. Watch the video to find out how it helped them stand on their own two feet!


More than Just Loans

How are microloans different from bank loans? And how does it enable the poor to achieve self-reliance? 

World Vision's Microfinance Units Banks
Services are integrated with World Vision's development work, and beneficiaries get access to financial services like credit, savings accounts and insurance Additional services not provided
Provides easy and quick access to funds when needed Complex loan application procedures and minimum credit required to access funds
Promotes monthly installment repayment on both principal and interest, leading to almost 100% repayment Lump sum loan payments expected at the end of loan cycles, leading to inability to make repayment and resulting in debt
Training on household financial management provided, to enable beneficiaries to use loans effectively Training not provided

The ultimate goal of all this, is for children to have fullness of life, starting from small loans that multiply in impact!


Impact Story: Lending Hope

Mrs Vu lives with her sickly husband and three daughters, aged 13, 7 and 5. She used to earn only S$58 a month working in the rice fields. With less than S$2 to survive on each day, she was not able to provide for all the needs of her children and her youngest child became malnourished. She also couldn't afford to send her daughters to school.

In 2015, microloans became available in her village and Mrs Vu borrowed S$580. In one year, she not only repaid her loan but also earned S$30 a month from raising five piglets. Her eldest daughter also became sponsored by a donor in Singapore, and the family benefitted from additional monitoring and priority support from World Vision's community projects.

After the first loan cycle, Mrs Vu re-invested the profits and took a second loan to grow her business. During that time, the price for pigs dropped sharply. But thankfully, she did not suffer losses as World Vision advised Mrs Vu to quickly switch to chicken raising.

Through microloans and training by World Vision, Mrs Vu was able to grow her income

"The chicken raising business is profitable and allows me to provide nutritious meals with eggs for my family. I hope other women in my village will be able to change their lives with microloans from World Vision," Mrs Vu says happily.


The Singapore Connection

Cows enable families to earn additional income in Tien Lu, Vietnam

Last year, the Youths of Vision (YoV), a World Vision volunteer group made up of youth, hatched plans to provide families in Tien Lu, Vietnam, with cows and mushrooms to increase their agricultural productivity. Through this initiative, they hoped to empower families by increasing their financial stability and well-being.

If you are interested in joining the YoV on this project, please contact youth@worldvision.org.sg!

"As I worked towards understanding and formulating solutions for a variety of interconnected issues faced by the Tien Lu community in Vietnam’s Hung Yen province alongside other like-minded youths, the clearer it became that youth-driven change is possible." — Charlotte Lim, Youths of Vision member


Labour Not in Vain

There are still millions of people in poor areas who labour in vain. This Labour Day holiday, as we take a rest from work, let us remember families who don’t have the luxury of rest – who are deprived of basic necessities and whose children sometimes turn to harmful coping strategies like early marriage, child labour and sexual exploitation.


Written By: 
World Vision Singapore