How a savings group transformed my life and that of my family
By Didier Nagifi, World Vision DRC Communications officer
My name is Mama Ndundu ELysa, I am in the commune of Kimbanseke cimetiere, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am a mother of five children, three of whom are girls.
I had experienced an enormous difficulty in my family. My husband did not have a job, my children did not study properly, I had no place to go. This situation had affected us seriously to the point that life no longer had any sense of being.
One day, one of the members of our community noticed that I and my family were suffering, and she didn't hesitate to tell me the story of Saving Group, which is an approach that World Vision had put in place to increase household income. But I didn't understand anything he was telling me, and I wanted to know what it was exactly.
Saving Group, he told me, is a group of 10 to 25 people who commit to saving together and taking out small loans from those savings. It allows communities to save regularly and to have access to a credit fund with a 10% repayment, it reinforces solidarity and mutual aid between communities, it creates and diversifies the sources of financing for Income Generating Activities.
When I understood all these explanations, I decided to join a savings group that was already operational in my neighborhood. Despite my difficulties, I saved with the little I earned from the sale of my goods. I continued to save until the end of the cycle.
When I saved, there were no fixed amounts, but there were shares that went from 1 to 5. I saved according to my capacity, which is why I had 500.000fc (250$) at the end of the cycle. As my husband was the repairer of flat tires and he had nothing more to do, I had judged good to buy an engine, compressor of tire to 100$ to allow him to restart his activities. For the moment, this engine, compressor of tire is operational, that helps us for the food of the children, their school fees, their medical care if they fall sick.
As a woman, I know how to take care of my family with the knowledge that World Vision has given us. Even if my husband is having difficulties, I am able to support him and all my children to move forward.
Today my husband has risen from my involvement in the Saving Group, and we now have great ambitions to move out of the rental house and into our house which we have only just finished tiling. I hope that with the Saving Group we will realize our dreams.
That's why I thank World Vision for the initiative to set up this Saving Group approach that solved the problem of my family and who made me an independent woman able to take care of my family's problem. Thank you to World Vision for supporting our community in providing a solution for the welfare of children.
Notes: The Saving Group is a World Vision approach to increase household security through savings, provide loan opportunities for investments and other needs, create a solidarity fund to provide emergency assistance to members, provide the opportunity to save and borrow in a flexible manner, and make attractive profits on savings. This has enabled Elysa as a woman to stand up and make a commitment to save in order to increase her household income level and by giving her husband a job again.