Josephine Kasipa is the chairperson of the Kiuani Village Savings and Loan (VSL) group. Kiuani means Fruit of the Tree because there is a large tree bearing lots of fruit on the property where the group meets. The tree could be a metaphor for the productivity of the group. While only in its second year, the group’s members are able to do so much more than they could before.
Despite her young looks, Josephine and her husband Masila have five children, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren. For a very long time Josephine relied on her husband to take care of the family financially. Masila was a casual laborer, so his income was inconsistent. Masila is now older and retired. So when it came time to pay for their youngest son’s college education Josephine needed to take out a loan. She went to a micro-finance group which charges 20% interest on loans. After she had finished paying off the loan she heard about VSL groups and was excited because the interest rates were so much better at 10% and profits are returned to the members. She decided to join a group.
When she gets money she brings it home and shows it to her husband and together they decide what they should spend it on. Since starting, she used her first loan to cement her home, the second to buy mango seedlings for her business and the next to expand her business so she could sell produce on a larger scale. She hopes to keep building her business and make improvements on her home.
Her children all live away from home but when visiting they are amazed at all the improvements. They ask “How are you doing this since you don’t have a job? Where are you getting the money?” She tells them about her VSL group.
Josephine wants to ell others that being in a VSL group is good! In her words, “Fadhili Trust trained us and now we are capable of pooling our savings together. We loan to each other and support each other. Tell people they should join groups too!”