A savings and loan group supported by Plan International is making a difference for a woman in Zambia.
Angela is 24 years old. She is married with two children and owns a fruit and vegetable business.
“Before I joined the savings group, it was very difficult for me and my husband to meet the needs of the family,” she said. “Sometimes we used to have only one meal per day. Although I was selling vegetables, the money was not enough to help. It was a hand-to-mouth situation. I never saved any money for future use.”
She heard about savings groups from other members of her community, and her husband encouraged her to join. In October 2012 she joined a Youth Savings Group called Twashikakale, which means “We’ve arrived.”
The group is a part of the “Banking on Change” program, which is supported by Plan, CARE, and Barclays Bank.
Angela started her business from a very low level, buying produce and selling it at the roadside. As part of the group, Angela received training on how to manage and grow her business and, most importantly, how to save and borrow for a purpose.
“From this time on, I started to focus on how to increase and diversify my business,” she said.
Angela saw a great business opportunity to grow and sell the fruit and vegetables herself; she then built on this success by setting up a bigger stall on a main road connecting the area. She has now been able to buy the stall, where she sells a variety of vegetables, tomatoes, onions, butternut squashes, and watermelons.
From her profits she manages to set aside money for her savings and loan repayments, and also for food and other family needs.
“I am very happy that I received business skills training through the savings group that has helped me grow my business,” she said. “I now know how to keep business records and calculate my profits, which was not the case before training. In the future, I want to establish my own shop alongside what I am currently doing and I know with money from the savings group I will manage.”