When Gugu Ngubane joined a savings group in January 2018, her goal was to finish building her house. She achieved that — and more.
Ngubane (35) is a single mother of three who works as a security guard at her local community centre in Msinga. She started building a house two years ago, completing two rooms, but she was borrowing money from loan sharks that cost her a crippling 30% in interest each month.
Her savings group, by comparison, only charges 10% and she borrowed R3000 to help pay for her most recent building costs. “It’s easier,” she says.
At the end of last year, Ngubane spent her first share-out of R5754 on building a third room, plastering and painting the house and buying new curtains for it. This year, her goal is to buy sofas for the sitting room.
Ngubane benefits in several ways from belonging to a savings group. “SaveAct helps me to save money and I’m grateful for the financial education, especially about budgeting,” she says. “I like being part of a group, the people respect each other. I’m also part of my group’s committee, and I get respect from the community because of that.” In addition, she says her parents are very happy that she’s built a house by herself.
Ngubane’s experience is in line with the findings of a study conducted with FinMark Trust last year that found that long-term membership of SGs impacts in a range of different areas of people’s lives, including financial management and education, economic, social, empowerment of women and household wellbeing.