By: Alana Albee and Nandasiri Gamage
64 pages, B/w photos, figs
In every country in the world, money makes money. Without collateral it is virtually impossible to obtain the capital to respond to an emergency, to own permanent housing, or to start a small business. However, through the development of community savings schemes and small-scale credit, people on low-incomes in many countries have been able to strengthen local organizations and livelihood opportunities and thereby avoid under-nourishment, health troubles and many other problems associated with poverty - as a first step to improving their circumstances in a more significant and sustainable way. This example of a women's credit union in Sri Lanka, the Kanth Sahayaka Sewaya, shows the potential for low-income groups to work together to build confidence, mutual trust and saving potential until they are able to borrow - and to repay - substantial amounts of money for housing, small enterprise development and for subsistence in times of emergency. Their common fund also provides welfare payments and interest-free loans for schoolbooks and cultural activities for children, improving the quality of life for the participants in many important ways.
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