Communities grasp the opportunity to work together through group saving

This story highlights how mobilisation in communities has brought about individuals and groups to commit to work together through savings groups. Mrs Nobengazi Ndwayana from Vela community, Ndwayana Village, in Peddie Eastern Cape, shares her journey with the Vela Savings and Credit Group (SCG) that started in 2014. 

Nobengazi Ndwayana is a 94 year   old woman who has been part of the Savings Programme since 2014. In her community there have been no savings/stokvel programmes that people would engage in for social or economic purposes. A few members in the community were involved in burial grocery society, where members would buy groceries that would assist its members’ during a funeral of a family member. Mrs Ndwayana feels that this was useful at that specific time of an unexpected death in the family, but did not solve the financial issues at home. If any of the community members needed extra money than what they earn/get at the end of the month, they would borrow from loan sharks in the community or other Villages.

In 2014 the Ubunye Savings Programme was introduced to the Vela Community and Mrs Ndwayana was one of the 12 members who first joined the Vela Savings Group. “Mrs Siyona came here with her colleague and was introducing this “Ukonga” and taught us how to save and borrow money from the group that we had recently formed through Ubunye”, says Mrs Ndwayana. Our group started by saving R20 per share and saving up to five shares a month. There was also a loan system that allowed each member to make a loan that had a small interest and would be paid within three months.  Mrs Ndwayana says that this loan system helps a lot especially when you have an emergency at home and is manageable to pay with the time given and the low interest. At the end of 2014 Mrs Ndwayana had saved enough money to renovate her rondavel and put a new roof. By the end of 2015, with the group share amount of R50 she had built a small six corner rondavel from her savings and loans that she made that same year.

Not only did she save for herself and her family, but  Mrs Ndwayana and 4 other members in her group, formed a sewing group called Vela Sewing Group. They have been working closely with the newly named Ubunye’s Livelihood Programme. The group sews kiddies’ bags and bath tea bags for Kwandwe Private Game Reserve (Kwandwe) and other sewing products for the community. Mrs Ndwayana feels that the group members have gained confidence and skills from the programme to make their lives better. In the two years that Mrs Ndwayana has been part of SCG  and a  member of an income generating group in the Livelihoods Programme, she  feels that she has been able to access opportunities that she never thought she could at her age.