Meet Esteria (pictured right) a member of WellShare’s health education and village community banking project for young single mothers in Western Tanzania.
Village community banking is a non-traditional form of money lending. Unlike banks, the local community itself provides the money that is then pooled together and lent to borrowers. With the help of WellShare, these women also receive business and financial literacy training. The women set up a group, determine the interest rates, deposit money each week and give out loans to each other. The project is very sustainable as all of the money stays in the group rather than going to an outside agency.
Esteria lives in a small, fairly remote village with no electricity. She joined one of WellShare’s health and micro savings groups four years ago. Before, Esteria had a small farm that was all that supported her and her five children. After joining the WellShare project, Esteria decided to open a small restaurant to be able to better provide for her family.
The restaurant proved to be very successful. She paid off her loans and then took out another loan to open and expand a small shop that has done extremely well. She has now added to her farm and even purchased animals.
“What Esteria and others in her group told us is that the health training they get from WellShare has led to changes in their homes to prevent diseases. With their additional income, their families eat better and are healthier. And, when a health problem arises, they have the money to pay for treatment. As one person said, ‘Our lives have been transformed.’” – Sharon & Rick (current volunteers in Tanzania).