From Rugs to Riches through Village Savings and Loans Initiative

34 year old Sydney Mkumbadzala from Phandiro Irrigation Scheme in Machinga had a small farm where he grew rice for her family and some to sell. He lived in a mud and wattle house, with his family. Through sensitization by the AICC staff, members formed in their VSL group and named it Tikondane. Sydney was one of the first rice farmers who vowed to take part of the VSL concept from the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC). In 2013 Sydney together with other farmers formed Tikondane Village savings and loan group.

Tikondane VSL group had 17 members (6 men and 11 women). He was amongst the men who defied all odds in sparing his farming time and making some savings for his living. Though the majority in the group were females Sydney challenged them to make VSL a magic. During their first groups share out, he managed to save and went home with K375, 000. The dream of having a decent house in the village started to build up in him, he used part of the money to mold bricks. Still not satisfied he joined the group for the second time and the savings were enough to start building the house as this time around it was K776, 000. The youthful farmer managed to purchase iron sheets and cement.

“My aim was to have a house like those you town people has but it should be right here in the village. Through hard work in rice farming and village savings and loans, am able to accomplish my ambitions” said Mkumbazala.

He challenges that he expects to make over K1 million in the next share out which he will use to finish building his new house. He encourages other farmers who thought that VSLs are for women only that the truth is a blue lie as he is an example of men who benefited a lot from Village Savings and Loan.

Before joining the VSLA Group, Sydney recalls facing a number of hardships as he was failing to increase hectares for his rice production. He faced many challenges in purchasing inputs, paying for labor, paying school fees for his children and seeking medical services for his family.

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