“My name is La Vie. I am a 35-years-old, mother of 6 children, including a daughter.
“I’m from the Tosalisana1 savings group in northwest part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The saving Group is one of the ways that World Vision helps community members meet their needs and improve the living conditions by enabling them to earn more income.
“Before World Vision started the Saving Group, I saved my money in a traditional system, called Likelemba where several members came together and contributed a set amount. All of the money was then given to one of the members of the group. Although this system did not help me to organize or take care of my children because each time it was my turn to receive the money, there as always a problem, it did help the practice of saving to become a way of life for me.
“One day, a mother in the community invited me to join the saving Group she belonged to. She explained how it could bring life for me and my children. I did not hesitated. I decided to join their Saving Group believing that it would open doors for me.
“When I joined the Saving Group, I saw how things were different from what was happening in the Likelemba system. After joining the saving group, I started to save money. For the first 6-months, I contributed 2,500 Congolese Francs ($1.6 USD) weekly. After six months, I had saved 60,000 Congolese Francs ($38.4 USD).
“Despite the efforts made by my husband and I, we did not have our own plot of land. Instead, we were all staying at my father-in-law's house. One day, shortly after I received my savings money, he forced us to leave his home. They money I saved help us rent a house.
“This first experience in the Saving Group allowed me to expand my income generating activities and become an active member of the Saving Group. It also raised the level of income in my household.
“After joining the saving group, I also benefited from trainings on financial management which were provided during weekly savings group meetings. This knowledge allowed me to position myself well. During the second distribution of our savings bank, I bought a plot of land and I paid the school fees for my husband which allowed him to get his state diploma. Thanks to this money, I was also able to pay the participation fees for the exams at the end of child primary cycle and my child was able to get his certificate.
“The saving group has completely changed me and my family. I gained more skills and identified additional opportunities as well. Thanks to the Saving Group, I have just opened a restaurant that will help me provide for my children. I also initiated the project to build a new Sheet metal house, we are currently building the foundation. Since I joined the savings group, my children are healthy and they go to school. I do not worry about their education and health anymore because I can use our savings group to borrow money to pay for what they need.”