Dear ADRA Family,
Many of us have been working or studying from home for only a few weeks now, but it sure feels like a lifetime. As nice as home can be, it’s not the same when you can’t interact with coworkers, classmates, friends and family.
When all of this is resolved, it will be such a joy to see people again. Who are you most excited to see or visit once the global health crisis is resolved?
Many of us are learning that community is not a luxury, but a necessity. As it has been said before, one human is no human. We need each other.
I am reminded of one of our countless community-based initiatives—projects that require the community to succeed. This particular project is called a Village Savings and Loan (VSL). VSL creates a framework for community members to learn, grow, and invest in themselves and each other, and has been used by ADRA all around the world.
In Madagascar, Juliet has learned the value of her local VSL. Before she partnered with ADRA, however, she could be found in the market selling coffee and donuts, or in her meager garden, attempting to coax life from the drought-dry soil. Neither the market nor the farm proved successful, and the mother of three could barely afford to keep her children fed, clothed, and in school.
All that has changed, thanks to her local VSL, and to the women who offered to give Juliet the skills and training ADRA had given them. They explained that VSL is an opportunity for the members to be more than the sum of their parts. One person alone could not afford to invest in new economic opportunities. Ten together, however, could pool their money and knowledge and provide the loans and resources necessary to kickstart a business, buy a pair of breeding chickens, or invest in seeds and farm tools.
“When I joined the VSL, I started with chicken raising,” Juliet said. “I bought two chickens, and as I got more money, I bought more chickens.” The two feathered investments laid eggs to sell, and they also bred more feathered investments.
Today, the 49-year-old has a flock of chickens and six goats, two sons in secondary school and a businesswoman for a daughter, and a one-year plan to build a new house. And she’s not hiding the source of her success.
“I encourage [others] to join the association because I don’t want the benefit to be my own,” Juliet said. “I want the others to benefit from it, too.”
Community is a benefit. Whether we are investing money or just spending time together, having people around makes the world a happy place. I hope you find happiness in your community today, wherever they may be.
May God bless you all.