Give Hope: Savings-Led Microfinance
Written by Plant With Purpose on December 17, 2015 in Gifts of Hope
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
Hope shines bright. This Christmas join us in generating hope for rural farming families. Purchase unique items from Plant With Purpose’s online catalog for families in need on behalf of someone you love. These Gifts of Hope transform lives and land in some of the poorest places in the world. We invite you to give hope this Christmas.
Within Plant With Purpose partnering communities in the Dominican Republic, the Christmas season is a particularly special one. December rounds out many of their savings cycle which means all their funds saved over the past 12 months are returned to the owner. For many, this is the first time they have held a lump-sum of their hard earned cash. The weekly Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) meeting turns into a party as groups celebrate their accomplishments. Their accumulated savings are often sufficient to make real life changes. These changes are possible because of their community-based savings groups (or VSLA), which are one of Plant With Purpose’s alternative Gifts of Hope.
“…it helped me achieve what I never had; I learned to save, to share with my colleagues in the community.” – Gonzalo Brito Candelario, Dominican Republic
VSLAs are a savings-led microfinance system that teaches participants to save their earnings and request for loans from this money pooled by neighbors who become trusted group members. These groups provide women and men the ability to care for ailments, build revenue, expand their farms, help a neighbor in need, jumpstart their business, improve their homes, and send their children to school. The individuals in these groups are trained in financial management and small-business development. The savings-and-loan groups give the community options to make important and beneficial adjustments. “Through loans from the group I started building my house, since the one I had lived in was in poor condition. I feel I have improved my standard of living,” said Gonzalo. People are able to make changes in their lives with pride and dignity knowing that they’ve generated the funds on their own.
At the end of a VSLA cycle, members hold all of their savings as a representation of what they’ve accomplished and how they’re creating a new future. “With the closing of the savings cycle, I bought a refrigerator to preserve food for my family and invested in the education of my children. I am happier than I’ve ever been before,” exclaims Gonzalo.
There are many farming families and rural communities that would greatly benefit from economic opportunity this Christmas. Help others, like Gonzalo, through the Savings-led Microfinance Gift of Hope starting at $50.