A Few Coins and a Future
Written by Plant With Purpose on October 31, 2014 in General
For many, saving is an afterthought: a final destination for any remaining money once all the bills are paid, needs are met, or splurges made. For the rural poor who lack access to traditional financial institutions, savings becomes even more complicated.
Through Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), Plant With Purpose is seeing a cultural shift as farming families make saving a priority. Despite having limited economic opportunity, changes in lifestyle allow pesos, shillings, and bahts to accumulate. Multiply that by the 20-30 people who make up a savings group and members soon have access to a pool of funds for loans to put toward business development, home improvements, and farm improvements.
Shira Isambi joined a Plant With Purpose VSLA in 2008. There he received training in organic agriculture techniques. As a young Tanzania seeking a more secure financial future, he quickly put to use his newfound knowledge. Shira brought in substantial income through harvesting crops twice a year from his eight double dugs. He also grew a consistent customer base for his produce at three local schools, allowing him to accumulate income and save it in his VSLA.
Eventually, VSLA loan equipped Shira to buy a motorcycle with the intention to start a bodaboda—a Tanzanian taxi service. Because of Shira’s reputable reputation in the community, people call him when they need a ride. He shares, “The fortunate thing for me is that since many group members knows me well, I do not have to wait for customers at a certain point [in the community] but rather I work in my garden and they give me a call to shuttle them once they need transport. Therefore I don’t waste time waiting for them.” And while he waits for those calls to come in, he tends to his crops.
Through his local Village Savings and Loan Association, Shira learned the value of financial stability through savings. His hard work and ingenuity is literally paying off, and he’s using his gifts and resources to build a brighter future.
Today is World Savings Day. Today we celebrate the individuals who make up the 658 VSLA groups across Plant With Purpose’s six programs. Their diligence has allowed them to save an accumulated $1.5 million dollars – a huge number for these rural communities who once believed they had nothing to save. Each dollar is a reason to celebrate as individuals like Shira embrace a culture of savings.
Support economic empowerment in communities like Shira’s through partnering with a village. Join our Sponsor A Village program today and help transform lives!