Saving for the future in Rwanda

Jun 8, 2015   //   by Nicholas Milton   //   Blog  //  No Comments

VSL1Today I met a really inspirational group of women in Rwanda.

Women those lives are hard but who working together have achieved a lot with your help.

In Rwanda many poor women don’t have access to banking services. To help them save money emerge poverty free working with our partner Strive have set up a project called Village Saving and Loans.

Its a simple scheme. Fifteen women get together to form a small co-operative. After proving that they are committed to saving we put 25,000 Rwandan Francs or about £23 in a deposit account for them. They then save each week and decide as a group how to spend the money.

These micro loans have helped to transform lives.

The women use them to buy and sell fruit and vegetables, pay school fees or buy goods like mattresses.

Women like Florence Umurerwa who lives just outside the capital Kigali. Florence is 42 and has 5 children to look after. Her husband is dead and to make ends meet she sells bananas outside her village.

Since Florence joined the scheme a year ago she has saved 500 Rwanda Francs or about 50p a week. Her group now has over £33 in their account.

Florence has successfully applied to the group for a loan for 10,000 Rwanda Francs or £10. This will enable her to buy different fruits and vegetables which she can sell at a greater profit.

Florence plans to use the money to buy school books for her children.

emerge poverty free is now helping over 600 women like Florence to save for their children’s future.

I had the privilege of meeting over 50 of these inspirational women and hearing how the Village Savings and Loans project has helped them.

As a result we have now expanded the scheme and are depositing 50,000 Rwandan Francs or £46 with each group so many more women can apply for loans.

The Rwandan government are monitoring the project and we are working with them to see how we can expand the scheme to many more villages.

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Nicholas Milton

I am a marketing and communication expert with over 20 years experience. Over this time I have campaigned on issues I feel passionately about - conservation, climate change, racial equality, land reform, rural poverty and most recently international development. I am also a successful freelance journalist and have been published in the Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph and the Independent.

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