STORY AND PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PRINS. VIDEO EDITING BY DYLAN FERREIRA.
Native to the Nebaj area, Cathy understands its culture and the challenges faced by its women and mothers. Commanding both Spanish and Ixil (“eh-sheel”), the local dialect, she excels in communicating the core principles of Savings and Loans Groups.
Concepts around ledgers, interest, and mathematics are the pen-and-paper to making the groups work. Women who grew up with limited access to education often need a lot of training during start-up. They gladly welcome it. But the deeper principles of respect, conflict management, and trust are what keep a group functioning and healthy.
Since she started working with FH in 2010, Cathy, 27, has been visiting partnered communities daily to facilitate Savings and Loans Groups. Once started, Cathy joins their weekly or twice-monthly meetings to further coach the group.
|CATHY OFFERS COACHING AND VALUES-LESSONS TO THE GROUP REGULARLY
|CATHY POINTS OUT ALL THE ITEMS IN AN FH SAVINGS & LOANS PIGGY BANK ACCOUNTING KIT
Each meeting, each member contributes to their communal savings fund, and a business loan might also be given out to a member. They even have a “social cup” where everyone donates 1 quetzal to help with group events or a special need a member might be facing.
Everything is collected, recorded, and locked safely in their accounting kit. If there’s time, Cathy might sneak in a health lesson.
Cathy smiles knowing Savings and Loans Group are a way out of poverty for her neighbours.