Thursday, September 16, 2010

From the Workshop: New Program!

The women are exclaiming the most joyful laughs and we couldn't be more excited for them. Stephen, an Acholi and financial guru working for Respond Renu (Restoring Northern Uganda), is here for his very first microfinance training with our ladies and it's surely an exciting day. For six weeks, they'll be students again, growing in knowledge and expertise about how to become financial rockstars.

What's the impact of Financial Literacy? In the developing world, a woman who earns her own income in a male-driven society immediately earns social worth and respect; her community sees her as strong, powerful, and inspiring. That's how our ladies are viewed in their communities. Now take that same incredible woman and teach her how to save that money, how to give loans to others within her community, and how to forward-think about her finances. The impact of work in a developing country is multiplied exponentially when locals are able to take financial control of their future. This is a great, big (and possible!) dream for many of our women (remember Lucy's story?). It's an exciting day when their faces light up during a microfinance training. They're excited to learn and it's changing who they are and who they can become. The future for their children is getting brighter by the day. Powerful.

So, today, the women are beginning their very own Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA), a microfinance group that comes together to pool their savings in order to have a source for lending funds. The women will make savings contributions to the pool and can also borrow from it. "VSLA represents a way to provide basic access to financial services, thus improving control over their future."

In the words of the awesome Adong Kevin... "The training was so, so nice! *gives thumbs up* You know, I'm dreaming to buy land and build a home someday soon. Stephen is going to teach us how we can do it... we are so happy."

It's a powerful day for the future of One Mango Tree. And friends, you're surely a part of this change. Let the joyful laughing resume and expect more updates soon!

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