THE VOLUNTARY SAVING AND LOANING PROGRAM
- Published: Monday, 18 June 2018 06:34
Saving money is a difficult thing to do at any time, forget those earning thousands of salaries and have pensions and stuff let’s talk about us, people who survive on minimum wages and have to divide our pays to fit everything and also save some for a sunny day
Personally I can say saving for me has always been very difficult, especially when we were young and we had to save up in a container I always had to hide it very deep and pray to God throughout the night that I don’t remember where I hide it till I hit my target because I would end having so much money problems that I had not even planned for and by the end of it all end up with no savings too.
But banks and Sacco’s came and everything changed. Saving became much easier and quite safe and though a large percentage of people have taken up the new methods of saving, not forgetting those of us who come from the least privileged areas who to them even affording a bank account is quite difficult.
So stepping in to change all this is the Ruben Centre has a program known as the voluntary saving loan which was started back in the early 2016 with its aim being to empower the small self help groups in the community and the students from the transition program to enable them start up small businesses to help them support their families and themselves, and also indulge them in positive activities reducing their need for survival and involvement in the life of crime.
The voluntary serving loan program has help thirteen groups since it started by working with them taught and trained them and always kept constant check on them to ensure their consistent growth. They have a very simple criteria and requirement procedure to qualify for a loan. Group from five people minimum and 20 people maximum.
The self help group return the loans with an interest rate of 2.5%, however the transition students have no interest rates and the loans start from a minimum of fifteen thousand to a maximum of fifty thousand with weekly savings of as low as one hundred shillings.
Examples of our loans recipients
The VSL program has a self help group that is currently on their third loan known as the Niinue Nikuinue self help group located in Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Sisal village. The self help group consist of females only and has fifteen members with nine who have taken on the loan, they have also been trained on managing loans and saving. Their activities include; individual businesses, table banking (where the member contribute money and loan it to people in the group and they pay it back with an interest) and merry go rounds.
Recently I had a word with a few members of the Niinue Nikuinue self help group who have taken on the loan and this is what they had to say “through the voluntary saving loans I started my own small business of selling fries and this has helped me care for my family and pay for my children’s school fees, I have one in high school and three in primary school. Before I was just a house wife and I would just stay at home and wait for my husband to be the bread winner but now things are much easier because we help each other out with the bills.” Says Elizabeth Mumbua.
“I had lost all hope in life did not think that there was a chance for my life to be any better and I saw my life slowly draining away until one day I Heard about the voluntary saving loan and what they do, that all you had to do was be a member of a group and ensure that you are active. So I joined the Niinue Nikuinue self help group and from there life started to lighten up, this gave me hope and encouraged me to keep on pushing forward and today I have my own business though not big but helps me support my family and cater for their school fees and basic needs.” Says Mary kisingu.
So to get to the heart of the matter I spoke to the VSL coordinator and he said,
“With every start up program there are challenges that it goes through and for us it was no different we did go through some challenges like; trying to convince the groups to save with voluntary loan saving and there are banks out there, capacity loan building because most groups just wanted to come in and get the big loads of money. But we have also had our achievements in this transformation; more groups have registered with us since we started, more loans have been issued and people are using them positively, and the response from the community is very positive.”
Written by: Peris Wahome
Public Relations Desk