Kitwe Zambia is a city of approximately 500,000. Our team, Mark Carey, Phyllis Spielmann and myself visited a compound there that is home for 44,000 to 46,000 very poor members of the population. We attended a meeting of one of the 46 “grow groups”
Twenty women seated on the ground between two house had gathered with their contributions of approximately $1.00 each. As we arrived with Prisca Kambole, founder of “grow groups,” the money which is kept in a locked box was being counted. The women clapped to welcome us.
After being introduced, they proudly told how they earned their money which included fixing hair, doing needle work, selling dried fish and home grown fruits and vegetable. They proudly see themselves as business women. They had saved approximately $1800. It was kept in their lock box.
The money can be borrowed and paid back with interest. It is used to improve their homes and life. One woman showed us a newly stuccoed wall and also a new room to her home. She also had a new outdoor toilet. We visited the home of Joyce, who has AIDS, which is now under control. Her house had electricity and even a television. She also had built a bricked area she was going to use for growing chickens.
These women are poor, but the savings and credit program has given them hope and a sense of self reliance. They sang for us and their voices were full of joy in spite of their circumstances. We had the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them and felt connected to each of them through that love.
By Sherrill Razor