Railway savings group

Group savings plan brings new life options

Jakarta Barat » Families living in shelters along the railway tracks in West Jakarta earn about two U.S. dollars per person per day. They often work as rubbish collectors, sorting rubbish for recycling, or as street-performers, earning a living by singing on local buses. Two dollars is enough to meet their daily needs, but they have no savings or security if they have a sudden financial need such as unexpected medical costs. In times of crisis they can find themselves forced to borrow money from informal money lenders at high interest rates, and many feel that there is little that they can do to make their situation more secure, or to provide for the future.

The YPP team in the area has worked to meet this need by running a micro-savings group. Each week, members of the railway community meet to take part in the group. Members save a small amount of money (typically about two U.S. dollars), talk and encourage each other, and usually discuss a case-study about someone who has made a positive difference to their life by saving and planning for the future.

Since the program started a year ago, one member has used their savings to rent a room for their family in a house nearby. Another was able to buy medical supplies at the birth of a new child. A third has used their savings to buy stock for their small business, helping her to provide for her disabled husband. These small successes are part of the group’s wider impact, developing leaders in the local community and encouraging a culture of planning, and of building towards a better future.

Other microfinance intiatives:

Microfinance in West Java
Building self reliance through sensible use of small loans