By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
– Proverbs 24:3-4
Savings is more than just money – it’s freedom, empowerment, and community.
And for Lana Sitole, a Kenyan mother of ten, Savings for Life also marks the start of changed lives.
Savings for Life groups open doors of economic opportunity that are too often closed to the most vulnerable, especially women living in rural areas. At weekly meetings, groups of neighbors pool their existing resources – a few dollars at a time – into a group fund. Then they build their savings, broker small loans and study God’s word in community.
In every corner of the world today, savings and loan groups aren’t hard to find – there are an estimated 250,000 savings groups throughout sub-Saharan Africa alone! Lana has tried out several different groups near her home, but she believes Savings for Life stands out from the rest.
At Savings for Life, all of the money exchanged comes only from the pockets of the group members – not outside lenders. To Lana, this is a key difference. It means that the members themselves are casting the vision for transformation in their communities.
Savings for Life members borrow small sums from their group to start businesses or invest in their farms – then use the profit to send their children to school or regularly provide them with protein-rich food. Some groups even set aside some of their savings to care for widows, orphans and neighbors who are sick in their communities.
When Lana borrowed a loan from her neighbors to build a new house, her family changed in the process too. As she moved from a house made of mud and grass into a strong, iron-walled home, Lana saw a new side of her husband. Although she typically earns her own money from selling milk or jewelry, he now looks forward to lending to her. He trusts that she’ll bring the money back from the savings group with added interest. Other men in the community are so impressed by their wives’ financial wisdom that they’re joining savings groups of their own!
One shilling, one home, one family at a time, change – powered by community members – is sweeping through Lana’s village. It starts at Savings for Life.
This month, we’re discovering what Savings for Life means to women and men in some of the most vulnerable places on earth. Check back with us to hear their stories of hope – and stand with us today as we pursue lasting change through economic development.