Ange Ma lives in a bamboo forest a long way outside of Yangon with her husband and their four year old daughter. She developed leprosy at the age of 10. Now her right eye won’t close properly, and she has sensation loss and clawing in both hands.
Ange Ma has no education. For work she harvests the long thick grass used to make baskets and mats, and occasionally gets paid to do manual labour on a farm. She has also recently started a bamboo business with a loan from TLM, and has already paid back more than half of it.
This has given her better financial security. "Now I have a regular income, and no longer need to borrow from people here at high interest rates." It also gives Ange Ma new opportunities for the future. "I want to make sure my daughter gets a good education," she says.
TLM has also trained Ange Ma to do regular exercises to help her hands – she doesn’t always do them, but is encouraged by the Disability Resource Centre. Soon TLM is planning to give her sewing training, which will improve her prospects further. Hopefully she will soon be able to realise her other special dream: "I also want to get my daughter earrings!"