A Mother’s Love, Playing Your Part

April 29, 2016

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When you are 65, and your husband is 80, and you have produced 10 children and 40 grandchildren, the relatively limited time remaining on this planet is only outweighed by the desire to provide a secure future for your family. Dabi Ogato and Serbite Gunamo from Melka Agamsa village in West Arsi, Ethiopia have done their best to take care of their large brood. One of the blessings of the communal life they live is how geographically close the generations remain. As Serbite reflects on what makes her most happy, her mind goes quickly to the sight of her children and children’s children always before her. At their age, devising new schemes to improve daily life and make significant plans for the future is uncommon. Yet, this couple couple joined a savings group several years ago and Serbite demonstrated her uncommon strength as the only woman to become a member in a group of 20 other men.

Serbite and Dabi’s farming family lived for generations in typical mud and straw homes found in their rural region. Rain, wind, and pests present ongoing challenges for families who depend on these walls. But for them, this is all they could afford. A reliable dwelling makes a tremendous difference for daily life of a family in West Arsi. Over the last couple years, Serbite and Dabi used the common strategy of investing in an ox to improve their lot with a tin roof house. These homes are naturally more sturdy withstanding heavy weather and require less ongoing maintenance. As well, they are more spacious and have higher roofs, improving circulation and providing more storage space for harvested grain. Purchasing young livestock and selling the animals at the market for a higher price can be a lucrative but risky investment. For many it is one of the few ways to save in rural Oromia. They found this out the hard way when a Hyena had its way with the ox and their investment was lost.

Many families have found membership in a savings group a safer alternative to traditional saving methods like animal husbandry. Thankfully, Serbite and Dabi had become members of a savings group before they lost their ox. In a show of wonderful service and sacrifice, the group agreed to pay for the tin roof home out of their collective savings. This kind of relationship is seldom found in these communities. Savings Groups create more than an opportunity for improved financial stability. For (grand)mothers like Serbite, membership means friendship and interdependence.

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A mother’s love is an irreplaceable. No one gives and gives like a mom. Savings Groups give them a chance to provide a more secure future for their family. Mother’s like Serbite are the most likely to look for ways to create a better life for the generations that come after them. Economic, cultural, and spiritual barriers often thwart these desires. With the partnership of her husband and the other members of her group, she is beginning to overcome. This Mother’s Day, honor the love and sacrifice of your mom or another loved one by making a donation to Discovering Light’s savings group program in West Arsi, Ethiopia. This program has empowered over 4000 women since 2012. We look forward to continuing this effort. A gift of $25 or more helps train women to save and build the strong community bonds that lead to abundant living together. Join us in celebrating a mother’s love.

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