For people who do not live near a bank or who do not earn enough to be eligible for a loan, the EMBRACE project’s savings and loans groups are providing a valuable service.
Groups are formed voluntarily from the project participants. They are then taught the principles of budgeting and saving. Participants are chosen to be the chairperson, recordkeeper, and cashier. Participants save a set amount each week over the course of a year. Once the group has saved enough, loans are then given to both members and non-members. Often loans are taken to start new businesses. Participants are able to use their savings to pay their children’s school tuition fees, pay for medication, or meet emergency needs.
When Solange heard about the EMBRACE program, she was interested in joining because she wanted to learn new skills to take better care of her family. Solange was a farmer, but her harvests were not bountiful enough to feed her family throughout a year. Nor could she afford pre-natal care while pregnant with her first three children.
EMBRACE taught her ways of increasing her crops and she was able to increase her income. The money she has been able to save through the savings group has helped her pay for medical insurance and provide for her children’s education. She was also able to afford prenatal care when pregnant with her fourth child.
“EMBRACE has left a positive impact on my life.”