Eme Mponda lives in Katelera Village in Machinga, Malawi with her husband and eight children. Mponda’s husband has his own business but it was struggling and could not adequately provide for the family. As a result, Mponda became involved with the Tithandizane Village Savings and Loans (VSL) programme which receives training and support from The Salvation Army.
Since being involved in the savings group, Mponda no longer relies on her husband to buy household essentials; instead she is able to pay for almost half of the family’s expenses. She said, “Ever since I became a member of the village savings and loan group… my life is no longer the same. My eyes are opened now. I started growing rice which I sell [and] I am able to get money for household items as well as something to buy shares with at my savings group”.
Members contribute to the group savings each time they meet. After a year, the money that the Tithandizane group had accumulated was shared out between them. Mponda used her shares to mould and burn bricks, buy iron sheets and cement to begin a house project. Once the house was finished Mponda said, “I am happy that I have my something I can proudly point at as having done with my own money”. Mponda plans to rent out the house for additional income and will now work on a house project with her husband which will belong to them both.
After her second year with the savings groups, Mponda used her shares to lend money to some fellow rice farmers. The agreement was that instead of giving back the money they would repay the loan with rice. Mponda said, “When harvest season arrived, I was able to get an extra 25 bags of rice to my harvest and I made a lot of money that enabled me to support my school-going children with learning materials and school fees for the whole of this year”.
Tithandizane VSL is just one of 37 supported by The Salvation Army in Malawi. Read more about how The Salvation Army is working with communities and individuals around the world to tackle their material poverty here