Safety in Savings, ADRA CanadaElna started saving when she was 58.   

Living in poverty on a small island in the Philippines Elna didn’t know how to save money and didn’t think it was possible for her family as their income was so irregular. 

Then ADRA came to her barangay*. 

ADRA set up a community-managed savings and credit association (COMSCA) program.  This microfinance program starts out by showing participants how to budget their incomes and start saving.  Each participant is eligible for loans from the association.  Some participants take loans to start small businesses.  Some take loans to cover medical expenses.  Some only take a loan if there is an emergency.  The amount of a participant’s savings is directly related to the size of loan they are eligible to take.  More savings means a larger potential loan.  Payment is usually due over the course of three to six months.  Each participant knows that their community will be hurt if they do not repay the loan and defaults are rare. 

Elna’s husband is a fisherman and their only income is from his catches.  If the sea is rough, or the weather is bad, they lose their day’s earnings. 

Elna was encouraged when she saw her neighbours saving and she knew that she could do it too, with the right help.  The COMSCA program was just what she needed.  Over the last two years, she has been able to save 10,000 Philippine pesos (approximately $270 Canadian).  She plans to help her children go to college so that they can all have better lives.  She also has peace of mind knowing that she has something put aside for emergencies. 

*A barangay is a Philippine village.