Remember back when you were just 5 or 6 years old and you stowed your spare change in a piggy bank or a jar?
What happened when you really wanted to buy something – a pack of baseball cards, a new doll, or an ice cream sundae?
More than likely, you spun off the lid to the jar, or popped out the rubber stopper on the bottom of the ceramic piggy, and transferred the money to your pocket – and then into the hand of a sales clerk.
Did you know that the poor in developing countries face a similar temptation?
They might put a little bit of money away when all of their monthly expenses have been paid, but then a family member gets sick, or a child needs money for a school uniform, and suddenly they find themselves unscrewing the cap on the jar and giving away their savings.
"I used to keep my [savings] in something called 'korok', a container made out of tin with a small hole for entering the money, so when I ran out of money, I could easily open it."
She joined one of Five Talents' savings groups in August of 2011 and, ever since, has been building up a reservoir of funds that no one can touch – especially not herself.
"The system of saving is a good one. We all have got to trust each other because the keys are with different people, even the box," Roda said. "Our bylaws [state] that the box will be opened after one year, and I have planned that when I get mine, I will build a small shop for selling my items instead of selling from a table and it will save me from carrying the items home and to the market."
Besides saving money, Roda is now learning how to read and write, as a part of the Mothers' Union literacy program.
"When I joined the literacy program I could not believe that an illiterate and undermined woman like me could hold a pen and write. Now I can read posters, short stories in my own dialect, magazines, medicine prescriptions."
Most importantly, she can now calculate her income and expenses. "Before I buy products, I calculate first. And instead of buying one item I now buy more and my business is improving."
The combination of providing financial services and specialized training can help women like Roda escape the trap of poverty and make a better life for themselves and their family.
Your support for Five Talents' innovative programs is multiplying success stories like Roda's. As we bring our fiscal year to a close on June 30, please consider making a gift so that we can help even more women and men in the developing world.