Meet Norma Lim from the Philippines
With a small loan, Norma Lim was able to purchase a fish cage and started catching and selling fish at the local market. As Norma Lim looks back on her life, and the struggles she endured, she is glad to be breaking the cycle of poverty for her family.
Norma was born and raised in the Philippines and is one of ten children. Her father was a farmer and her mother a fish vendor. Her parents worked very hard for their family, but it was always difficult to provide the basic necessities.
When Norma was only nine years old she started working with her mother selling fish in the market. As she grew, she enjoyed the time she spent in the market meeting new people and helping sell them fish.
Several years later, Norma found herself a single mother of three working hard and struggling to provide for her children’s needs. She labored doing the laundry of others in her neighborhood. This provided some income, but not enough for Norma to be free from her financial worries. Norma became ill and was confined to a hospital for a time. She is very grateful for her family that stepped in and helped care for her children while she was ill.
As Norma’s health returned, so did her ambition to do more for herself and her children. She shared her feelings with a friend who introduced Norma to Mentors Philippines. Norma became very excited about the opportunity of providing better for her children. She eagerly attended the business classes Mentors Philippines offers and qualified for her first loan. Norma decided to go back to the fishing business she knew it so well, but now she was better prepared with new business skills and financial training, and a small loan to get her started. She purchased a fish cage and began catching and selling fish. After each catch, Norma cleans and debones the fish to prepare them for sale in the market.
With her second loan, Norma purchased a freezer to help store her fish until she can sell it. Today Norma has an income of $150 USD for each harvest from her fish cage. She can provide better for her children. They are able to eat healthier and more nutritious meals. School is very important to Norma, and she wants to make sure that her children get to finish their studies.
“I am so grateful that there is an organization like Mentors Philippines that helps mothers like me. I wanted to be able to give my children more, and now I can. I am not at stressed as I used to be, and we are all much healthier. Thank you to everyone involved with Mentors Philippines. You have changed my family’s life for the better. I work hard to pay back my loan on time so that the money can be lent out to help another mother.”