The evening of 5th December 2011 saw the honor of Mrs. Duong Thi Tuyet, a Vietnamese copper caster, when she was granted with the prize of “Arts and Craft” in Louvre, in the 4th Edition International Microfinance Award by Planet Finance (the network that supports disadvantaged people in over 80 countries worldwide with small loans). Mrs. Tuyet is TYM’s microcredit client in Y Yen branch, Nam Dinh. This award is the encouragement and the acknowledgement for the efforts of a poor craft woman, who wished to preserve the tranditional artcraft and created jobs for the locals.
Tuyet was born, grew up and got married in Lam town, Y Yen district, Nam Dinh – a small village that has been a long time famous for the artcraft of copper casting. Her husband, Nguyen Huu Quyet, is the fifth generation in the family that works as copper casting craftman. Currently, they are running a famous copper casting workshop in the locality, with 10 full-time workers. Looking at achivements now with a three – storey house, a busy copper casting workshop and diversified products like sophisticated copper statues, incense burners, no one can even imagine that this family was previously categorized as poor household of the commune.
In 1998, TYM started its operation in Lam town, Ý Yên, Nam Định. When knowing about the features of the loans, and being consulted about the project implementation, Tuyet discussed with her husband then applied for the first loan. Their very first loan from TYM was only VND 500,000, which, however, supported considerably for the family economics. They could afford the materials for the first cast, which were some recycled copper from the local women collectors. Thanks to such first small loan, the former casts brought small profits for the family, and some were re-invested to the next casts. Gradually, until the end of the loan cycle, her family got the income of VND 10 million, which was quite a large amount at that moment.
More capital, with their creation and skills, Tuyet and her family tried launching some products and models. At first, the products got some defects, and had to be re-casted, but later, the copper vases, unicorns and the worshipping objects became a success, that attracted everyone’s looks. The products of the family were then transported to other provinces like Quang Ninh or Hanoi. With TYM’s loans, Tuyet’s family could perchase more materials, machines and hire more employees to develop the workshop. Expectedly, their family’s income this year is around VND 700 million, with the sales of about 15,000- 20,000 products, generating the net interest of VND 100 million.
Being asked about the next year’s plan, Tuyet said that she would invest to new machines, improve the designs to penetrate to large markets in the Middle Vietnam and Hochiminh City. She also shared that the family would establish a private company next year, making it easier to expand the business. “Eventhough I got a workshop or a company, I would never drop out of TYM, because coming to center meetings are happy and have become my habits,” said Tuyet. “Before joining TYM, I had never dreamed of my family one day owning a company. However, thanks to TYM, we could make this dream come true. More than that, I was granted the Citi Microentrepreneurship Award in 2008 in Hanoi, and now I won the International Microfinance Award. This award is my pride but also the pride of all TYM’s members, of all the poor women who have been trying to escape poverty by their own efforts. Later, I will pay more effort to support and encourage other women to bring more dreams to the reality.”
Trang Pham Thu