Caritas Czech Republic helps refugees in Meheba Refugee Settlement in Zambia to form Savings groups
April 6, 2023 News

Caritas Czech Republic helps refugees in Meheba Refugee Settlement in Zambia to form Savings groups

Financial freedom is just a dream for many people. Without education, they often have no idea how to achieve it. Thanks to Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia, a group of refugees living in the Meheba refugee settlement have attained financial freedom through a savings group, an initiative introduced to them by the organisation with support from UNHCR.

Caritas Czech Republic teaches financial literacy to refugees

Savings Group

We believe that financial literacy has a positive impact on economic growth in the whole world and in individual countries. It leads to higher economic growth, lower income inequality and greater financial stability. That is why Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia embarked on helping and supporting the refugee community in the Meheba refugee settlement through financial literacy programmes.

Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia has been supporting refugees since 2017. Many refugees in the settlement have little to no knowledge of how to manage their finances or face their financial challenges.   This has changed when we introduced them to Savings groups. These groups bring community members together to save money so they can take out a loan and buy what they need. Refugees otherwise have little chance of accessing traditional banking services.

Tesa Tumbi Savings group

One of the three saving groups supported by Caritas Czech Republic is Tesa Tumbi. The savings group was formed in June 2021 and has 31 members, 28 women and 3 men. All the group members first underwent a training in financial literacy and management. Then we supported them with a starting amount of K10,000 ZMW (approx. 470 USD) to boost the savings for the group and to allow members to borrow more money which they can use as a capital to start a new business and improve their already existing businesses. 

Ruth Njamba

Many group members have seen the benefits of being part of the group. According to Ruth Njamba, her business has improved a lot since she started saving and received her first share out. “We usually save a minimum of K50 ZMW every month for a period of 6 months. Those that have more can save up to K1000 ZMW (approx 46 USD) because there’s no maximum limit. When I got my first savings and interest, I invested in my small business and used some of the money to start saving again for the next cycle,” she said with a smile.Maureen Kameya

Another member of the group, Maureen Kameya, says being a part of the Tesa Tumbi savings group has also brought her many benefits. “Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia provided us with K10,000 to boost our  savings group. This deed alone has taken us from a low level to a higher level. I've seen so many benefits of being a member of Tesa Tumbi,” said Maureen.

Beauty Musulo, too, says she can attest to many of the benefits Maureen and Ruth have mentioned. She uses the money she receives after they share the savings within the group to take care of her children’s school needs and also boost her business. Beauty runs a Chitenge (African wrappers) business and a food business in Meheba refugee settlement.

Musulo Beauty

Savings group is a good thing because regardless of the amount of money you have saved, you can get a loan to finance your business. So far, I have even managed to buy a mattress for my children,” Beauty added.

The group members have acknowledged some of the challenges they are facing. They say it is not easy to find money to save but it is definitely worth the effort.

Financial freedom is the way to go

Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia is making sure that many refugees, like the Tesa Tumbi Savings group members, achieve a certain level of financial freedom and financial literacy. Being financially literate is very important for every individual and society. It can lead to better economic development, improve one's financial well-being and independence