Maluan Lesiapadei is a young mother in Kenya. She and her three children have struggled in the past to meet their basic needs. But Maluan has determination. She’s focused on helping her children achieve their dreams.
One of the programs Feed the Children supports through our overseas work is the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSL). These associations are groups of 10-25 people who save money together and take small loans from the pooled savings. The groups run in cycles of about 1 year, after which the savings and profits are shared out among the members according to the shares they invested.
In 2018, a VSL group formed in Maluan’s area. She joined immediately and has never missed a meeting or failed to contribute. Through the lessons taught in her VSL, Maluan has learned the beauty and art of saving as a culture. She is now able to save at least 300 shillings every week from her business of selling sugar and tea leaves at a nearby market center. This has enabled Maluan to support her children’s education, purchase nutritious food, and even construct a modern latrine for her family – no small feat, in a village where less than 10% of households have sanitary latrine facilities.
Jamila, Maluan’s daughter, told us how her mother’s involvement with the VSL group has transformed their lives. “My school uniform was old and tattered, and my mom could not afford uniform shoes. But once she joined VSLA and started taking loans, Mom bought me a new pretty uniform, shoes and a school bag. I don’t miss classes, since she pays school fees in advance. My dream is to become a doctor someday.”
Maluan’s village will never be the same. Her passion for the VSL program has attracted several women into savings groups, and sparked their own passion to improve sanitation, hygiene, and education in their community. She has a vision to see her children grow up in a world where doors are open to them, and where they can determine their own path. And through the financial education and support provided through her VSL group, change is happening.