Esperance Akimanizanye is a wife and mother of two young boys who lives in Remera, Rwanda. When Saddleback sent PEACE Plan volunteers to Rwanda to offer training on savings groups, she had no idea how much her life was about to change.
The first project Esperance’s savings group took on was to save enough money to buy mattresses and bed sheets for each member of the group. Before the savings group, most of the members and their families slept on thin mats on the hard floor. But the group pooled their savings together and furnished each family with a mattress and bed sheets.
Esperance feels she was empowered after the PEACE Plan Savings Group training because it showed her how to handle her money in a more responsible way and how to operate something akin to a small business in a more professional way.
“If you go to a person and express your need to them, they often still don’t help you. And if they do, they are always putting pressure on you to repay.” The savings group allows for loans that are conducted peacefully because it has procedures and guidelines in place. Esperance says that there have been zero defaults on the savings group’s loans because the savings groups rely on its members to be faithful.