We are happy to share with you information about an innovative new program called Saving for Change recently launched by the Solidarity Foundation at New Beginnings/Sendero. It is a savings-led microfinance program where 15 to 20 individuals (typically women) save and borrow in a small group setting. The savings groups are self-managed and self-determined under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Founder and President Eric Kinman believes that group financial involvement and inclusion is “a fundamental catalyst out of poverty; helping families to build household assets and strengthen resiliency.”
Two Savings for Change groups have recently been established, in collaboration with New Beginnings/Sendero, for families living in extreme poverty near the site of the old dump at Magisterio and Gardenia, where previously savings, spending, and credit behaviors were sporadic, dangerous, costly and usually resulted in pushing the families deeper into poverty.
Savings Group #1: El Principio (the beginning). This savings group is comprised of 14 women from the New Beginnings jewelry making program. After two months, they’ve saved over MX$7,000. The act of saving is a new experience for all of them, so this achievement is quite impressive. Recently, they achieved another milestone – granting their first loan. Recently a 49 year-old mother of four was granted a MX$1,000 loan from her peers. This one act shows the group’s ability to make collective decisions and use their own money to empower a peer – that’s social development at its best! As part of the program, the group has formulated a Social Goal – where they raise money for a common purpose. The group´s goal is to buy a community dumpster to keep their neighborhood clean. This past week, the group began seven weeks of educational sessions -focusing on topics like health, domestic issues, gender differences, etc.
Eric and the Solidarity Foundation board are hoping to start a third Saving for Change group in this same area very soon; however they will need a sponsor (or co-sponsor). Five hundred dollars US will pay for a group facilitator, all of the materials and a lock box for three years. All donations will go directly to this group’s expenses. Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation, with your support, would love to sponsor this new group. If you believe in the potential impact in this type of program in breaking the cycle of poverty, please send a donation through our foundation (or New Beginnings Mexico if you are Canadian) and mark it “For Saving for Change”.