Archives For Savings Group Programs

By Malu Garcia, Savings Group Program Training Specialist (Philippines)

Several months ago, I joined a savings group that meets in an unusual location: a cemetery.

Since the 1980s, a growing number of people have chosen to live in the Cebu Chinese Cemetery—now totaling more than 100 families, some of whom have even given birth to their children in the cemetery. Some have transformed covered tombs into homes by hanging tarps for privacy—meaning that the gravestone serves as their table for meals and their bed at night. Others sleep on uncovered graves—no roof over their heads, no privacy, and no protection from animals. Some of the tombs are open, meaning that the relatives of the dead person have removed the bones and transferred them elsewhere. Near some of the oldest caskets, pieces of bone are littered on the surrounding area. The children run around these tombs as though they were in a playground. The young people and adults play cards over the tombs. I wondered where they take a bath, where their toilet is, where they wash their clothes.

To me, the heaviest part of their situation is that they expect to live out their entire lives in the cemetery. They have stopped dreaming of owning a proper home someday. But I believe that it is not God’s design for people to live with the dead; it is God’s design for people to be able to dream of more for their lives. He wants people and communities to flourish and experience Him.

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For countless families around the world, financial need has crushed dreams. Over time, poverty can suppress even the ability to dream. Yet, at HOPE International, we believe in a God who rekindles dreams.

In underserved communities around the HOPE network, nearly 900,000 men and women are harboring dreams like launching new businesses, seeing their children graduate, and owning their own homes. These same families are investing their own time, hard work, and funds—and leveraging HOPE’s financial services—to see those dreams come to fruition.

In these photos, members of the Let’s Fight Poverty savings group in Rwanda share their dreams. Meeting by meeting, cent by cent these savings group members faithfully pool their resources and seek the Lord, their eyes fixed on what could be.

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Unity Savings Group, Malawi

By Kevin Tordoff, Vice President of Marketing

I recently found myself in Malawi, known colloquially as the Warm Heart of Africa. Driving into a southern community, we stopped by the side of the road by Nixon, a volunteer church facilitator for savings groups. Nixon has been serving in this role for the past four years—almost since HOPE Malawi’s inception. Riding his trusty bicycle, Nixon weaved his way through the dusty dirt roads, guiding us to the home where the savings group meeting was held.

Like many savings groups around the HOPE International network, the Mgwirizano (“unity”) savings group is comprised of 14 multi-generational members. As the meeting began, they enthusiastically shared how the loans from their pooled savings had allowed them to build and repair their homes, how goats had been purchased for breeding and other productive purposes. Their hard work farming small plots of land and selling the produce at market enabled the members to have the funds needed to pay back any loans disbursed from the group’s savings.

Leading HOPE’s marketing department for over a decade, these stories had begun to feel standard—I’d read and heard countless stories like the one the group shared, and I’d even had the opportunity to visit savings groups in the past that looked very similar to this one.

But then, a young man, Samson, from the group arose and directed an unexpected question at me: “Where have you been, HOPE?”

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HOPE International is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Compassion International to equip their local church partners with savings group programs. Read more in this press release: