VSL Helps Women Help Themselves

Halima wanted to start a small business to support her family, but she did not have enough money for start-up capital. She reached out to several business people asking them to give her a loan, but none of them were willing to do so.

Then Halima heard about Village Savings and Loan (VSL) groups through the West Africa Program and decided to learn more. She attended training on how VSL worked and soon formed a group with 26 other women. Halima was elected president. The women were provided with a cash box, record keeping materials, and guidance from the staff of local partner Showing Everyone Love, but they weren’t given any start up capital. That was up to the group to provide.

The women began meeting regularly and decided they would each save 90 cents per week.  After two months, they began allowing members to take short-term loans from the cash box and repay them with interest. Halima seized the opportunity to start her business. “I started by taking a small credit from the cashbox to buy a bowl of peanuts to make into tourteaux [a type of peanut cookie]. I used the profit from my business to reimburse my loan with interest.

“Overnight my business evolved. Now instead of a bowl of peanuts, which costs about $1.80, I can purchase a large bag, which costs about $110. Now I am also making and selling peanut butter and peanut oil in addition to tourteaux. I earn a lot of profit, and with this profit, I manage to provide for my small family. My small business has been an example to others, and other women in my group have also started small businesses”.

Small loans help participants to start or expand businesses in the short term, providing regular income to help meet their families’ needs. But the groups are also profitable in the long term. At the end of the year, VSL participants get their savings back along with the interest and other fees (for being late to meetings, for example) that have been collected by the group all year. Some use their savings to reinvest in their business or purchase animals; others use it for purchasing food during the hunger season, paying for medical expenses or school fees, or for larger household expenses.

The best part is that all of the money belongs to the group – there is no need for an outside loan.  By simply providing training on VSL, the program is truly helping people help themselves. VSL groups are empowering women, restoring dignity, and providing for their needs.

Growing Hope Globally offers you the opportunity to live out your faith and give people around the world the dignity of providing for themselves. Building skills and empowering communities leads to positive change for a lifetime.

For more than 20 years we have worked alongside our partners, helping people to improve their incomes and food security. Loving our global neighbors by investing in their God-given gifts and encouraging them to build upon their resources has been the right approach since the beginning. Now — in the face of a global pandemic — it is still the best approach.

Will you please join us in loving our global neighbors by making a gift? Your help can make these life-changing programs available to more people. Until year-end, your donation will be matched two to one. Your support will ensure the long-term health of Growing Hope and the programs we support. With your contribution, our current programs can grow and more can begin.

Individual donations made to Growing Hope Globally by December 31, 2020 will be matched 2:1.

Donate today to ensure that we can access the full $150,000 in matching gifts!

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