A Story from Simukai, Zimbabwe

Irene lives in the Mutare District of eastern Zimbabwe where she takes care of her two grandchildren. In 2014 she was introduced to our local project partner, Simukai, and encouraged to join a village savings and loans group as part of our Village Investors Programme (VIP). The VIP is designed to help guardians like Irene to set up businesses, save money and earn a regular income so they can look after the children in their care.


After being part of her VIP group for four years, in February 2018 Irene described the change it has made to her life:


“When I started the Village Investors Programme, I used to sell maize from my granary to get money to save at our meetings without my husband’s knowledge. Each time when I asked him for money to save, he would not understand it and we always exchanged words about it. My husband did not want me to get involved in the VIP because he felt that it put pressure on us to always look for money to save. However, with determination, I found ways of remaining involved.


“At the end of our first cycle, I showed him my proceeds, which were not much as I also saved very little. He still was not convinced and it remained a thorny issue in the household. However, at the end of the second cycle, I had more share out and he was very happy. We managed to build two additional rooms at our home, as we only had one bedroom, and no space for accommodating visitors.


“Today, my sons’ in-law can now visit freely and even my own mother came to live with us when she fell ill, and I was able to take care of her without moving from my family. My husband now appreciates the VIP so much that he helps me with money to save and he even gave me money for transport to come to this meeting today. We no longer quarrel in our house and his love for me has improved greatly thanks to the VIP.”