Written by: World Vision Staff; Edited by Leanna Cappiello
The community of Matyazo began a savings group project, collaborating with local church and government leaders. Thirty people—13 of them female—were trained on how to manage their money.
Mary is one among them.
Mary is a widow who cares for her two children. One of them, Emmanuel, is a sponsored child and studies in primary school. Through the savings group, Mary and her family were educated on the importance of saving within an accountable, supportive environment.
Below is an informal interview with Mary, where she reflects upon about the progress made in changing the life of her children.
How were your finances before you joined the community savings group?
“Before joining the savings group, I was hopeless and didn’t understand how working for our neighbours can improve my life and the lives of my children,” says Mary.
We learned that Mary had gone through the heart-wrenching experience of being abandoned by her husband. She continued to do what was best for her children. It’s been eight years.
“At the end of July, I met Jean Pierre, who is a church leader of Anglican Church in our village. He came to my home and started telling me the importance of what he called ‘a saving culture’. After his visit, I decided to join other members and agreed together to give a share of 1,000 Rwandan francs ($1 USD) per week. Our savings group is functional, and I am now among management committee members. I was happy when I was elected.”
What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen since joining the savings group?
“In September, I was able to apply for a loan and borrowed the amount of 30,000 francs ($35 USD). The purpose of borrowing the money in the savings group was to pay health insurance for my family and buy a pig [to use as an investment].”
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“I was surprised to be given such amount that I have never touched!”
Do you have any plans moving forward?
My next plan is to borrow 100,000 francs ($1,150 USD) and start running a small business like buying and selling green bananas, beans and Irish potatoes. I want to see my children healthy. I have a vision of helping them to perform well at school and completing at least secondary education.”