Story from Kigali â€“ Savings Groups
One of the missional activities in the Kigali diocese is that of savings groups. There are currently 432 savings groups spread over the 42 parishes in the diocese, each parish having a facilitator to oversee the running of the groups.
The savings group facilitators at a diocesan meeting where they receive training and encouragement
Most groups have around 15 people in them who are encouraged to put in a small amount of money every month for two years in order to buy something specific like a cow or school uniforms. Money is able to be withdrawn from the scheme at any time if needed in an emergency. The groups are also discipleship groups, the group members spending time on a bible study at their monthly meetings.
This programme has been very successful. An excellent example being of a savings group is one in Mareba parish about 40 km from the city of Kigali itself. This particular savings group had formed a co-operative buying bees and selling the honey.
They were then able to buy some land and plant some banana trees selling the bananas. Subsequently they were able to buy some goats for meat, using the dung to fertilise the banana trees to help banana production.
The banana trees
Group members have now saved enough money to be able to build houses for each other, which is a huge step forward for these people. Under a government scheme the people build the walls and the roofs are then provided by the government.
One of the new houses under construction
The proud owner of the new house who has also been able to buy land and grow her own bananas.
This was a great example of the church at work in the local community encouraging development and transforming peopleâ€™s lives.