A vicious cycle of poverty is all 16-year-old Jihihkel in Bangladesh has known. His father makes and sells baskets from bamboo but has a difficult time making ends meet.
Recently, after exhausting their meager income on living expenses and school fees, Jihihkel’s father once again didn’t have money to buy supplies to keep making baskets. Jihihkel knew what that meant. He and his sister would have to drop out of school and help bring in some income for the family.
Desperate to continue their schooling, Jihihkel looked for a different solution—one that could help his father purchase supplies and get the basket business up and running again. He found it, at least in part, by joining the SALT savings group in his village.
At the SALT meetings, Jihihkel heard for the first time how God wants us to use our skills and resources to provide for ourselves. He heard about the importance of following Jesus and obeying Biblical principles. He learned the value of spending carefully and saving even tiny amounts of money. In Jihihkel’s culture, wasting money—a little here and a little there—is common, even among the very poor.
As required, Jihihkel and the other members of his group brought small amounts of savings to their weekly meetings. Each member was able to bring about 12 cents a week. With 20 people in the group, together they saved about $2.50 every week. Once the pool of savings was large enough, people in the group would be able to take out small loans.
When it was time to issue loans, Jihihkel told the group about his family’s dilemma. They agreed that he should get a loan of $12.50. Jihihkel took the loan home and gave it to his father, explaining that they would need to repay the group. They used the money to buy supplies, and the whole family pitched in and started to make baskets again.
Although the struggle isn’t over for Jihihkel and his family, the gift of hope can have a powerful impact. In places where poverty has persisted for generations, many people have come to believe there is nothing they can do to get out of this vicious cycle. Thank you, supporters, for giving thousands of impoverished families like Jihihkel’s the opportunity to provide for themselves and hope for the future.
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