Savings groups have been facilitated based on a microfinance model to create a sense of self enablement and income generation amongst woman of the particular region. A total of 9-40 trained volunteers, from what we call a “savings group”, come together every last Saturday of the Nepali Month. Currently there are 16 saving groups with 318 saving members. They deposit their savings (an amount of at least NRs. 25 or more) every month and can borrow from the gathered sum to start their own income generating activities such as production of spices, tailoring, beauty parlor, small retail shops, canteen and various other enterprises. Women participating in the project have gained self confidence and their social status has been reinforced within their communities. The continuation of savings groups has helped the mothers and volunteers gain easy access to finance when they need small investments for starting out small shops, businesses and income generation activities. The aim of the project is to develop savings habits to improve the economic status of women in the community, and have access to low-interest loans, encouraging them and creating a platform to share experiences and concerns, helping women to achieve a certain level of economic independence.
How groups were formed?
After taking the volunteer training, volunteers gained confidence amongst each other. At the end of the training small saving groups started forming. To encourage and strengthen Group Savings Initiatives small seed money per group was initially provided to volunteers to open bank accounts so that they can continue monthly savings as a group.
Kalpana Potrel, Age: 40 years (mother)
I took Chhimeki’s volunteer training in the year 2007. From the same year I was involved in Chhimeki’s saving. Low interest rates, easy process and familiarity in the group make it easy to take loan. Every month we get to meet our friends and know about each other. Plus at the end of year the interest gained from the deposit/loan is divided proportionally amongst the members according to their capital.
Before joining Chhimeki I used to work in a bead necklace making shop. I used to work in a daily wage basis. For 13 years I worked in another’s shop. But after joining Chhimeki, I took loan of NRs. 10,000 from saving group. I bought beads and spinning thread with that money. Now I have four women working under me. I am thankful to Chhimeki for giving us an opportunity like this.
Sita Baral, Age: 33 years (mother)
I took Chhimeki’s volunteer training in the year 2011. With the training I became vocal in my community. I could speak and spread awareness about nutritious food for pregnant, postnatal and children under three years old.
I was involved in saving group from the same year. It is easy to understand the procedures in this saving group. I can ask many times to friends if I have not understood anything. We can take small loan amount from this group unlike in bank where we also have to keep collateral. I took loan of NRs. 10,000 to support my husband’s existing business of silver workshop. I have repaid the loan in small installments.
Saving is helpful for housewives like us who can save small amount. My saving habits have developed after I started saving here. I am sincerely thankful to Chhimeki for reaching out to us.