Cheroots, a cigar, have been part of the Myanmar tradition especially in the village areas. They are fond of smoking their native cigars. Their love for cigars gave an opportunity to a community of women in Bago to start their income-generating activity.
Ma Thi Thi Moa, 43, formed this community. She earned her experience in making cigars in a cigarette factory where she used to work. When she got married, she resigned and started making cheroots ordered by a cigar distributor. The small community, which is composed of 24 women, do the job orders. They are doing this livelihood for about ten years now.
They get raw materials from the factory, produce the cigars, and deliver the finished cheroots to the factory. The factory then delivers the cigars to different parts of Myanmar. They can make 20,000 cigar sticks per day. They earn MMK 5,000.00 for every 1,000 sticks they make.
Ma Thi Thi Moa already started working right after finishing 4th grade. At an early age, she worked in a garment factory for three years to help in the daily expenses of her family. Afterwards, she started making cigars. Her husband is a carpenter and has no direct involvement in their livelihood, but his work provides additional funds to pay for their daily expenses.
It was only eight months ago from the time of interview, Ma Thi Thi Moa joined as a client of CARD Myanmar Co., Ltd. (CARD). In this short period of time, she is already thankful to the institution. “CARD is assisting our livelihood. Paying our weekly obligation in CARD is not a burden to us,” she said.
She has MMK 150,000 loan in the institution. She invests all her loans to their livelihood. They do not have plans of having a child of their own at the moment. Aside from making cheroots, they are taking care of livestock. Through CARD, she is also able to save. All of the women working with her are also members of CARD.
Their small community of cheroots maker has become one big family, a family that they can lean on. It is a community that continues to dream of a better life.
When they have enough savings, they plan to finish the construction of their house and grow their livelihood to generate more income.
-CARD Myanmar COMPANY LIMITED