Saving Groups Change Lives

The CHE Association collaborates with Samaritan´s Purse, Canada, Saving Groups

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The CHE Association  supports the Learn to Live savings group, a project of Samaritan´s Purse, Canada, in El Limonal, by sending their local leader, Fátima Medina, to give the devotional at the beginning of their meetings. She also helps with some craft lessons.

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On an early March afternoon, Anne Thompson, from PiH, and her friend, Heide Miller, met with the women of the El Limonal savings group in       church. The women made table mats, which they feel will sell well at local craft fairs.The women began their group 2 years ago with $2300 capital seeded by Samaritan´s Purse, Canada, which they expect to pay back in June, 2020. The women receive applications for loans from people in the community, as well as members of the group itself. They charge 12% interest, which enables them to increase the funds, but is less than borrowers would pay elsewhere. We heard of a young, single mother of two, caring for her chronically unwell mother, who borrowed to make needed repairs to their house. She is faithfully paying back the loan, and joined the savings group two months ago.

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A group member who is enjoying her table mat sewing project

17 of the women have accepted Jesus while attending the group, a truly wonderful outcome. In the group, the women find spiritual and social support, as well as training in managing the group’s money, and experience in decision-making for the group.

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As we were leaving the church, traditional street performers were just moving away. 
There is a bicycle taxi parked in the foreground
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Left to right, the Pastor and his wife, Anne, Heide, Maria Felix (Project Manager for the CHE Association), Fátima (CHE trainer), and savings group member, Socorro.

A woman who has been a member for two years borrowed money for repairs to the Roman Catholic chapel in the community. She is responsible for taking care of it. other women in her church have helped her raise money through raffles, selling handicrafts, and organizing excursions for which they sell tickets. In this way, they are keeping up the payments on the loan, and are happy to be able to take care of their church.

Fernanda

Fernanda is a 15 year old single mother of a beautiful 8 month old baby boy. He’s a very patient baby, sitting in a chair, enjoying the attention from the women and children in the sewing class where his mother was working on making table mats.

Fernanda has had a difficult life: her mother died when she was young, so her grandmother took care of her, until she died herself. Fernanda had a boyfriend who abandoned her. She now lives with a woman who has befriended her. Through the gospel teaching in the Savings Group, Fernanda recently accepted Jesus, who will never abandon her. Getting up before dawn every day, Fernanda makes tortillas to sell in the market, and directly from the house. In this way, she provides for herself and her baby. Thanks to a small scholarship, through the CHE Association, which enables her to buy school supplies, Fernanda attends high school on Saturdays – a common situation in Nicaragua, as this allows students to work during the week.She enjoys the Savings Group, which promotes micro-business, as well as savings. Fernanda told me that she would like to study business administration in the future.

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