"My daughter Naw Chit wants to be a school teacher. It is her dream so, I want to support her,” says Daw Than Kyi, 34.
Charming Naw Chit, a 9-year-old sponsored child, lives with her family in a small village which is about an hour drive from Hlaing Bwe Township, in Kayin State. Most of the families in Naw Chit’s village work in the paddy fields, some on odd jobs, and some grow vegetables at their home compounds. Daw Than Kyi was one of them.
“Working in the paddy fields is really tiring and I only earn 3,000 kyats (around $3 USD) a day, I cannot rely on that job since it is kind of seasonal work” says Daw Than Kyi.
As the income is barely enough for daily survival, Daw Than had to borrow money from the local moneylender to use for her children’s school related fees.
One day, Daw Than Kyi was invited to attend a meeting facilitated by World Vision. During the meeting, staff explained about the objectives and benefits of saving.
“We don’t have much experience with group savings, so some people felt a bit reluctant to participate,” shares Nant Gay Bwar, the group leader of the savings group.
But Daw Than Kyi saw an opportunity, and responded differently.
“I decided to participate in the saving group as I believed it would support my family. Moreover, I trust World Vision,” shares Daw Than Kyi
Saving group members discussed the details of the group like saving amounts, rules and regulations, and they agreed upon them as a team.
“I did not know how to save money properly before, but I have to be patient since it is a year-round saving programme,” explains Daw Than Kyi.
When the agreed time has come to withdraw her savings, Daw Than Kyi received 170,000 kyats (around $170 USD).
“I bought a concrete water storage tank and pipes, a pig, and spent the rest for household expenses,” says Daw Than Kyi. “Now, I do not need to queue to fetch water for a long time and we can use water when we need to.”
“I can use water to clean myself just at my home and I have enough water,” says Naw Chit.
Naw Chit(far left) loves to play water with her sisters beside water storage tank at her home.
Daw Than Kyi’s savings is creating a better life for her family, especially for her children.
“Now I don’t need to borrow money from others, I will continue to participate in this saving group and will encourage other families to participate in the savings group too,” shares Daw Than Kyi.
“As a savings group, we have become good friends. We can borrow money with low interest here, moreover, we saved much more than saving as an individual,” shares Nant Gay Bwa about the benefits of the group saving. “We have a plan to organize a child saving group and will supervise them for proper saving with purpose too,” shares Nant Gay Bwar.
Daw Than Kyi (far left) with her family at home.
World Vision introduced Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) in early 2013 in Hlaing Bwe Township. Across the country, as of today, there are over 590 VSLA groups in 24 townships with over 12,000 members.
Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) is a year round group saving which led and operates by its own members from the group. VSLA provides loan to propose member through collecting monthly saving from each group members. However, to get the loan, a person needs to save at least 3 to 6 months continually then can advance a loan not more than triple from his or her current saving amount then reimburse within 3 months with low interest. And saving amount, loan amount and interest rate and rules can differ from one group to another. Generally, in one group about 25 members participate where mostly women. Not only a group member can get a loan but also get benefit from other people taking loans and paying back with loan interest.