A Christmas Wish: Economic Opportunity in Mexico
Written by Annelise Jolley on December 15, 2013 in General
Discover the Christmas wishes of farming families around the world. As a December blog series, Plant With Purpose will share what families in each of our six partnering countries wish for, and what gives them hope. Up next: Mexico.
Gabriela* deftly shuffles bills before placing a peso in the wooden cash box. The other nine members in Gabriela’s savings group follow suit, adding one peso to the group social fund. Every addition is carefully noted. Once the social fund has been replenished, members add their savings and pay back loans.
At 15, Gabriela is by far the youngest member of her Village and Savings Loan Association (VSLA). This community-led group meets in a small town in the state of Oaxaca. Members earn interest on their savings, and can withdraw loans to pay for medical care, school fees, and improvements to farms.
It’s unusual to see a high school student take initiative with their finances and their future. But to Gabriela, saving money isn’t about accumulating spending cash. Her savings are a matter of education and hope for the future. This VSLA group is the reason Gabriela can speak confidently when she shares her dream of going to university. She says, “To me, saving means a lot. It means school. I can pay for my books, backpack, and other supplies.”
Gabriela hopes to work in the tourism industry one day, but her wish will only become reality if she can complete school. And without savings, school wouldn’t be possible.
To me, savings means a lot. It means school.
That’s the beauty of economic opportunity. Savings can mean the world to someone who formerly had no access to credit or loans. This Christmas, your gift can fulfill the wish of a girls like Gabriela who want to attend school. Give a gift of economic opportunity by investing in a child’s future, funding savings-led microfinance, or supporting a female farmer.
*Name has been changed.