For a dedicated mother in Vietnam, entrepreneurship is the key to success

January 5, 2017

Pham Ngoc Yen’s life was already difficult before her third child came into the world. She and her husband made little income in their village in the Tam Binh district of Vinh Long. As it was, they had trouble providing for their family’s basic needs.

On the day Yen went into labor, things took a turn for the worse. Before she even knew what was happening, Yen was having a Caesarean section, and during the long recovery that followed, her family’s meager savings was drained.

Yen returned to work as soon as she was able, selling sedge threads and repairing clothes. She and her husband lived as frugally as they could but remained in poverty.

Things began to change when someone with Pact’s Mekong Vitality project came to her village. Yen decided to join a savings and loan group that uses Pact’s signature WORTH model. She gained access to credit, which she used to expand her businesses.

Yen also joined Mekong Vitality’s advanced business component. She was given a smart phone, which she used to participate in e-learning business trainings. Soon she was searching the internet for additional lessons and using Zalo, a messaging app, to communicate with her customers, take their tailoring orders, and send them photos of clothes for sale. Her customer base quickly expanded beyond her own village.

In sum, Yen has taken loans totaling the equivalent of about $650. Her monthly income is now about $250 – a significant increase.

“While waiting for my kids to grow up, I plan to save more money to open up a small
sewing shop at my house with three to five machines,” Yen explains. “I will teach people how to sew and receive big orders to make clothes.”

She admits her days are long – she often stays up making clothes after her children are asleep – but Yen says her family is worth it.

“I am willing to do anything to earn more money so that my kids will have a better life.”