B L O O M W I T H
a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work: with ambition she is working for freedom
Last year, thanks to an enormous order from another company (just wait until you hear that story!), we were able to hire additional women into Landmine Design and promote each artisan to full time employment…and pay. Making such an enormous change in the midst of abject poverty had unique challenges and culpability. We greatly felt the responsibility to teach our sweet ladies about the importance of budgeting and utilizing their new salaries wisely.
While most Americans have a hard time with budgeting and spending wisely, imagine the difficulty of doing so in the midst of intense poverty. Such is the case for the women in our program, including a young mom named Son Sey. A mother of one and a skillful lover of all things creative, Son Sey was a quick study, a quiet one of strength, and was always willing to take on additional assignments.
Budgeting meetings began with Son Sey (and every woman) individually. We painstakingly developed a simple budget, listing out individual areas and the corresponding dollar amount needed to provide for their families. Son Sey’s list included things like rice, milk, soap, loan repayment, food, savings, and money to help support her aging parents. We taught about sticking to the budget and encouraged each woman to work hard at being disciplined. Our expectations were low. Budgeting is a completely new concept in the middle of a minefield so we weren’t surprised to learn the money management process wasn’t going well for the majority of our women. Most were barely making it because they couldn’t follow their budget consistently. Meeting with each woman individually was discouraging as we realized the road would be very long in learning, understanding and following a budget.
We sat down with Son Sey to go over her budget line by line and to our sweet surprise, Son Sey got it! She had followed the budget faithfully and now, months later, had accumulated quite a nice savings. In a country where savings don’t really exist, this was huge! Son Sey had a goal. She was determined to save enough money to build a new home and replace the lopsided hut in which her family had been living for years. Her goal is ambitious and will take a long time to achieve, but Son Sey is determined. She is a woman of ambition seeking to change the life and livelihood of her family for years to come.