Written by: Marian Roberts
Yaa Abonaa a native of Wassa Ekutuase in the Mpohor Wassa East District and a petty trader, has been jobless and in debt for over a year. Narrating, her ordeal, Yaa said she neither could feed her family nor pay the fees of her daughter in the university because she had no income.
According to her, she had even been arrested for non-payment of her loans from different sources. She is usually bailed by her eldest daughter.
In 2014, her life transformed when she joined a savings group in her community organized by World Vision’s Cocoa life project. Recounting, she said she was introduced to the savings group by her husband who convinced her of the benefits of the group. “I remember quarrelling with my husband anytime his group members come to collect his contributions at home. He was sick and couldn’t attend their meetings regularly. My husband then explained to me the importance of the group”.
The mother of four recalled that, determined to change her situation, she decided to join the savings group and started saving until she was qualified to access a loan of Gh₵100.00 (USD$30.00) to start petty trading. She focused on fast moving consumable goods (FMCG). After repaying her first loan, she was able to take another loan of Gh₵500.00 (USD$140.00) which enabled her expand her store by opening an additional shop where she sells farm produce like yam, tomatoes, onion, smoked fish, palm oil and many others.
“Through the savings group, I have been able to support my daughter to complete her university education and to feed my family. I remember my daughter once came home from school for some money which I did not have, but the savings group was able support me with money from the social fund to send her back to school”, She recollected.
According to Yaa Abonaa, the introduction of savings group has been a lifesaver to her household. “Now I don’t owe anybody at all. I am living well enough to be able to take care of my children, provide food for my family and even save.”