The Fund 4 Life Project aims to improve the quality of life and capacity of women through small enterprise groups, and help vulnerable women and children recover from the trauma of separatist violence in Pattani, Yala, and Naratiwat Provinces in the deep south of Thailand. The full name of this project is the “Fund4Life Entrepreneurial Support for Woman Breadwinners” and is a collaboration between Chevron (Thailand) Co. and the Raks Thai Foundation. The project is helping groups of women to improve their socio-economic status by providing access to revolving loan funds to help families earn extra income to support households which have lost the male breadwinner to death or disability from the political violence. The project also builds skills of women which they can apply to a range of economic enterprises. The project assists with identifying markets for the products which the women produce, provides training in business accounting and household finances, and generally helps affected women to become self-reliant.
Raks Thai and Chevron invited project participants from nine communities to display their products at an exhibition at the Red Cross fair in Naratiwat Province. The products included salted eggs, curries, handmade handbags, batik cloth, crepes, and many others. The exhibition was also support by the provincial Community Development Office, which also helped to open up channels to market the products of these women’s enterprise groups. The groups’ products are valued for their quality, originality, and attractiveness. There were over 1,000 persons who visited the project exhibition at the fair, and there was active exchange of knowledge and experience among women. The Chevron support for the project has enabled these women to achieve greater stability in their lives, and has given them the confidence and ability to serve as household heads for the family. This project is also improving the quality of life and educational opportunity for the children in the family through greater economic independence.