Furahisha Ngungirwa is a member of Mushegereza Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA). Her children go to the school that Children in Crisis & EMI built, but two are still too young.

She says the best thing about being a VSLA member is that it reduces stress. Now there's far less worry about having enough food to eat or having to pay for things like medical costs etc. 

Mrs Ngungirwa’s VSLA meets in the new school that we built in Mushegereza village. © Mike Tinney
There are no banks in this extremely remote place, which is why VSLAs are such a precious opportunity. © Mike Tinney

Mrs Ngungirwa has used the loans she has taken for buying and selling manioc, paying for school fees and for feeding her children.

She says there’s a strong solidarity between VSLA members. They look out for each other. Many of the women in the group have noticed that, since they joined the VSLA, their husbands are now more likely to involve them in making household decisions.

But Mrs Ngungirwa isn't standing still. She believes the next phase of the project should also include literacy for women because many of the group members are illiterate.

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VSLAs give families financial stability – meaning that they can afford for children to stop working and go to school.
Children clothed, better-fed and educated thanks to the money that their mothers can now earn. Women finally given the education they were denied.
Empowering women through education, the opportunity to work and the chance to meet and support one another.