Saving Money, Sparking Hope
Written by Plant With Purpose on March 15, 2012 in General
Last week we introduced you to a remarkable woman, Teodora Sánchez from Loma Verde, Dominican Republic. Teodora is a mother, grandmother, pastor, and empowerer.
Together with Plant With Purpose, she is overcoming poverty and empowering others to do the same.
One of the many hats she wears is the Village Savings and Loan (VSL) Coordinator. Savings groups are a way for community members to pool their own money in order to offer loans to group members, thus growing their own savings through interest paid on these loans.
Joining with 30 other members, Teodora is learning to save as well as invest in various economic opportunities. As a result, her family’s finances are improving and they even have a small cushion for emergencies.
But the benefits of these groups reach far beyond Teodora and her family’s finances. Because VSLs provide a transparent platform for community members to save and borrow money, they are no longer borrowing from predatory lenders. Families have a chance to start new entrepreneurial ventures, make improvements to their farms and businesses, and finance their children’s education. Gambling has even been reduced as a culture of savings is being fostered.
“VSLs strengthen the community. They affirm our core values: God, unity, community, and family. VSLs improve our morale and self-esteem and teach us values essential in empowering us to resolve our own problems. The community has more faith in God for a better tomorrow,” Teodora explains.
It’s amazing the transformation that can take place when communities work together to improve their lives:
- Competition is replaced with collaboration.
- Gambling and addiction is replaced with savings and accountability.
- The cycle of debt is replaced with steps toward freedom.
- Poverty is replaced with prosperity.
The entrepreneurial spirit is empowering the rural poor as they catch this vision of lifting themselves out of poverty. Teodora is just one of many hopeful collaborators in this life-changing work that leads to environmental, economic, and spiritual transformation for hundreds of communities around the world.
Hope is alive! Thank you for your partnership in bringing hope to the hopeless.
And keep an eye out for the next installment of Teodora’s incredible testimony to learn how she is fostering spiritual growth within her community.