This group is a savings group in formation. The promoter did not know how to form groups but liked the idea and so began to invent ways to help these women living in a small hamlet in Western Afghanistan.
Photo by Kim Wilson
Brave Warriors - Haiti
Brave Warriors, a Savings Group in Port-Au-Prince, still meets despite the devastation of the earthquake. The group formed in 2007 with the dream of owning and running a bus that transports children to school. The dream in 2011 is still alive but the timeline delayed.
Bringing the box
I did the effect here with an app called Colorize, which quickly converts a picture to black and white, and then restores color as one moves the cursor over parts of the picture. Very quick and easy, and a way to put the emphasis on whatever is interesting. I loved it that the treasurer carrying the records box to her group meeting in Western Kenya was wearing a brilliant red coat.
Photo by Paul Rippey
Samson, my colleague from CARE Rwanda, was talking to this group about solar lamps. The members didn’t like the cost of the lamps, and seemed to be hoping to get them for free. I usually discard pictures in which group members are frowning, and keep the ones with happy sunny faces. This time I went the other direction, and chose the pictures that showed skepticism, worry, or revealed something about the conditions in which these ladies had led their lives. There were 27 members present, 25 of whom are represented in this montage.
Photos and montage by Paul Rippey
Group meeting in Western Kenya. Everyone paying attention to the meeting except for the woman looking over her shoulder at me. Photo by Paul Rippey
What a beautiful day to be sitting outside in a VSL meeting, in the rocky fields of Rwanda!
Photo by Paul Rippey
A group leaving having finished its meeting while another group continues
Three groups meet in a cluster in Rwanda. The one in the background had finished its meeting and was going home. The poor people in the foreground group had to stay late because they had a visitor - me. Photo by Paul Rippey
Feisty Savings Group member in Cambodia
Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Ashe
Savings Group members look at a video about good practices in the Chichewa language.
Photo by Paul Rippey
Our Lady of Perpetual Help - El Mojon, Nicaragua
In El Mojon, Nicaragua, one group member encouraged her group to postpone investment in a corn mill and to distribute savings directly to members. She explained, “Mills are expensive, and would require most of our savings. I need my savings to pay for school expenses and new shoes for my children. I am planning to spend part of my savings to start a store in my house. If we had decided to buy a mill, I wouldn’t be able to use my savings.”
This group in a tribal area ofRajasthan (Western India) is all smiles, despite its daily struggles for fuel against a backdrop of deforested hills.
Sukrisisa - Master saver
Sukrisisa is saving with her self-help group, actually two different groups in this tiny tribal village in southern Orissa. She also buries money in the ground as a savings strategy. Her goal is to save enough to purchase a plot of land from the government. She far she has saved (she says) about $700, quite a feat when you consider she earns less than $1.00 per day which comes in bits and pieces, most after the cashew harvest. For more, see the article The Road To Wealth by Kim Wilson
This started as a single group, then got so large that the trainer - the woman with the black and white polka dot dress - insisted that they break in two. Off to the left one can see visitors coming to learn how the group works. This picture was taken in May 2007. I visited them again in March 2010, and they have grown to eight groups.
Photo courtesy of Paul Rippey.
These women meet out in villages where one can drive for hours without seeing another human. The men are often gone for weeks or months to take care of their cattle, and the women stay behind, take care of the kids, and... join savings groups. Thanks to CARE Kenya, photo by Paul Rippey
Savings Groups and Blackberries
Reina is a member of a Savings Group which gathers and sells wild blackberries from the forests of central Honduras. The berries constitute both an income for members and a key part of their sustenance. Reina has 7 children, all of whom are either attending or have attended school. When her son was beaten on his way home from work in the capital, Tegucigalpa, Reina’s savings group gave her the money she needed to visit her son in the hospital. Photo courtesy of Kim Wilson.
I'm not sure who took this lovely picture in Guatemala but I'm guessing it was Kim Wilson.
Doña Santo was inducted into the army during the civil war in El Salvador. The army seized her village and she had no choice but to succomb. But, as she says, “I was a clandestine.” I work during the day doing whatever jobs I could find. I reported to the guerrillas the plans of the army - when they were attacking and where - because I could overhear their discussions as I worked. Though an unwilling hostage, I was not conquered.” Doña Santo is now part of a savings group in El Salvador.
One of the great practices in Bangladesh is putting slogans on the boxes reminding the members to save regularly, respect confidentiality, and so on.