By Celestino Rangel, CUFA Timor Leste Credit Union Development Project Officer
In celebration of International Women’s Day celebrated on 8 March, CUFA Timor Leste’s office has shared an inspiring story about a woman in Remexio sub district who is helping provide the women of her community with access to financial services. CUFA’s Credit Union Development Officer, Celestino Rangel shares this lovely story.
In Tulataqeu village located in the Remexio Sub District, Timor Leste, Mrs. Margarida Ximoes has played a key role in the formation of a savings group in her community.
Mrs. Margarida Ximoes, who is a 49 year old housewife and mother of seven, is very enthusiastic about promoting savings groups in her community. To earn money to help support her large family, Margarida sells basic necessities to the community. She also volunteers her time and sits on the board of her local church.
Due to the amount of the time and effort Margarida and her husband put into the development of their community, they are highly respected. The community is particularly grateful for assisting CUFA to start a local savings group in their community, giving them somewhere safe to save and borrow.
The support CUFA received from Margarida and her husband has created great foundations for CUFA to help the community start a savings group in their community. The last meeting for the project was held in Margarida and her husband’s home.
Margarida’s and her community’s savings group have had some fantastic results since starting in May 2013. Over the past year the savings bank has grown from 13 members (9 women, 4 men) and a total savings of $2,400 to 25 members (16 women, 4 men) and a total savings of $8,500. In this savings group, women consist of 64 percent of membership. By being a member, women have somewhere safe to save their money and take out a loan which will help them to either set up a business or help with family expenses.
Margarida is very excited by the progress the savings group has made in such a short space of time and the impact it has had on her community, particularly for the women of her village. Margarida likes to lead by example by making contributions to her account at every meeting. She now has a combined total of savings of $431.00. She hopes the women of her community are inspired by her savings habits and do the same.
Margarida’s involvement in the establishment of the savings group in her community has been integral in helping CUFA’s Credit Union Development Project Officers run the project in their community. With the support of CUFA and Margarida and her husband, the community savings group membership has grown by nearly 100 percent in one year and she looks forward to seeing it continue to grow and benefit her community.