In Myanmar's slums, women pool savings to get relief from crushing loans

Years of misrule and a subsequent dearth of hard currency, along with crippling bank-fostered debt cycles and exorbitant home mortgage interest rates, have created immense suffering for Myanmar's poor. But with the guidance of a local NGO, Women for the World, a pilot project helped women in some of Yangon's poorest neighborhoods capitalize on their cultural "head-of-household" status. It helped them form and manage community savings cooperatives, secure land, build homes, buy food, and even generate profit through loans to families' business enterprises.

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