Poverty runs deep in Rwanda. Even though this country has made signifiant social and economic progress over the last decade, the vast majority of Rwandans live in rural areas and struggle with severe financial hardships. Of the 87% of Rwandans who do not live in cities, 48.7% live below the national poverty line. Living in this stark reality in northwest Rwanda, Odette Hakuzayezu found herself miserable and hopeless. Invited to join a Savings for Life group by a World Relief trained volunteer, she agreed and had little idea of what it would bring. Group members meet regularly, pool their money together in savings accounts and create an emergency fund that can be used by someone in the group with unexpected, urgent needs. Saving what little she had over time added up and before Odette knew it, she was able to buy a sewing machine.
For Odette and many others like her, savings is more than just accumulating money – it’s restoration. Being a part of a Savings for Life group empowered Odette to use what she had in community with others to make a better future for herself and her family. She now has a tailoring business, a regular income and a way to help take care of her family of 5. Odette’s dignity and hope are restored and she’s gained encouraging friends, fellow savings group members, in the process.
In partnership with local churches around the globe, World Relief meets the tangible and spiritual needs of thousands of people like Odette each year through programs like Savings for Life. Simple financial trainings and accompanied Bible teachings lead to a restored life with limitless possibilities.
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 again next week to hear more stories of hope – and stand with us today as we pursue lasting change through economic development.