“I have been in a Seed Effect savings group for five years. Now that we have seen the sweetness of being in the group and that sharing the word of God has given us wisdom, there has been a great change in us.”
Mary Peter Luwe is a member of Hope Seed Effect Savings & Loan Group. When she first joined the group in 2017, Mary had recently arrived in the refugee settlement with her children after being forced to flee South Sudan.
Five years later, Mary has a thriving fishmongering business in the market in the refugee settlement.
“I invest the loans I take into my businesses. Part of my profit goes to pay for things like my children’s school fees and I save the other part. At the end of the year, we share out. One of the great joys I celebrated after the last share out was buying a cow and goats.”
“My business is selling fish and it has grown. In running a business, I have learned two things: I expect growth and at the same time I prepare for unexpected events. But, even if there is loss, I do not fear because I have the help of my group.
This group has done great things in my life.
It can be hard to access loans—even from a microfinance institution—but not here. Here, in our group, we can access loans and get help. The only ‘brothers and sisters’ that can help you are in the Seed Effect group. That is the joy I have experienced in the group.”
-Mary Peter Luwe, South Sudanese Refugee & Seed Effect Member
Mary is a South Sudanese refugee. She’s rebuilding her life and caring for 10 children in a refugee settlement in northern Uganda.
When she arrived, she received a 30x30 meter plot of land, a tarp to build a shelter, and access to meager monthly food rations – barely enough to provide one meal a day for her family.
Mary knew that to pay school fees and feed them properly, she’d need more than what the UN handouts could provide.
“Pastor Martin encouraged me not to suffer alone with the children. He welcomed us. Through the church, I joined the Seed Effect savings group called Hope and was completely comforted. All of us in the savings group have decided to ignore the hardship we’ve faced and focus on the good things God is doing for us. When we come together, we share, have fun, and forget our sorrows. The collection of the small savings is also so helpful. My group strengthens me.”
Mary’s group meets weekly at their church with their Seed Effect trainer, Peter, to study God’s word and pool their savings.
As this pool of savings grows, they can provide small loans to each other. These loans are often invested in businesses, used to pay school fees, or to provide for other necessities.
At the end of the cycle (9-12 months), their savings and the interest earned is distributed to the members based upon the amount contributed. Our 2017 Seed Effect Savings & Loan Groups reported an average return on savings of 21%.
“I will never forget the things that Seed Effect has done in my life. The teachings from Peter, our Field Officer, have helped me to take a little and see it multiply. God has given me business ideas—I know He is ministering to me. Through this savings program I have been empowered to pay school fees for my children. Now, despite all the challenges, I feel good. I am so thankful for what God has done for me.”
We met back up with Mary after she completed her first savings and loan cycle.
“My Seed Effect Savings & Loan Group strengthens me through Bible sharing and the opportunity to save money weekly. I have used my loans to grow my business, repair my hut, and pay school fees. My income is now fairly steady.
My favorite activity in our group is when we share our problems to one another and encourage each other in the Word of God. My heart has been strengthened from the Bible studies in the group. Knowing Jesus more deeply has given me hope for my life. I have learned to pray for challenges that come my way. I can feel God’s love for me.
I will definitely continue saving in the next cycle.”
Empowers a mom like Mary