Jan 23, 2009, 6:02 AM
West Coast Region beneficiaries of Village Savings and Credit Associations (VISACAs) have been expressing words of gratitude and appreciation on account of the benefits they have derived from the village banks.
At Bwaim in Foni, West Coast Region, Buba K. Jatta said business in the village “is excellent” for him, adding that with his milling machine he has attracted a large number of customers.
According to him, he started business with three bags of coos, maize and millet, which he has been selling to local farmers well before the coming of the VISACA in Bwaim.
When the VISACA came into being, he took a loan of D90,000 from the savings association which he used to buy two rice milling machines to support the women in the area. He had since paid all his loans taken from the VISACA, Jatta said, adding that he is now using the profits to operate his business successfully in the area.
“I was among the low-income earners in Bwaim, but now with the VISACA intervention thanks to Allah I am now better off,” he said.
VISACA is for farmers like him, the young entrepreneur noted, saying his life is now better than it was before the intervention of the savings and credit association.
Babadinding Sanyang, speaking on behalf of Batabutu Kantora Arabic School, disclosed that the school has also benefitted from VISACA loans to pay teachers.
With the support of the VISACA, they have been able to pay salaries of their teachers on time, Sanyang explained.
“We nearly closed the Arabic school because there was a time we were unable to pay the salaries of our teachers,” he added.
According to him, they have mutual understanding with the VISACA committee to take loans from it and pay back when they get money from their sponsors.
Jonsaba Jarju, a firewood dealer in the community, thanked Rural Finance Project for bringing a white knight to the doorsteps of their local community. She applauded the helping hand given to them by the VISACA, saying it is serving them well and changing their lives.
Also sharing his success story, Omar Sowe, a butcher in Bwaim, said that though he had been in the business of butchery for about ten years, his life has been revamped and changed for better since he took a loan from the VISACA, which he made use of to transform his business.
According to him, he took a loan of D30,000 from the VISACA in 2003 and paid the loan within six months, and was given another loan of D50,000 and then another D80,000 to expand his businesses within the area. All these have been utilized prudently to transform his business and livelihood, he disclosed.
Mai Jallow, a gardener and native of Kuloro village, also said VISACA had improved her livelihood thanks to the loan she took from Kuloro VISACA.
According to her, she used the funds to support her horticultural garden by buying seedlings, garden tools, fertilizer and pesticides, among other items.
“I took a loan of D10,000 from the VISACA and after paying the loan I decided to take another D20,000 to strengthen my business,” she said, adding that these have done well to her agricultural venture.
Fenda Badgie, a firewood seller, said many villagers, including herself, have benefitted from loans taken from the Foni Batabutu Kantora VISACA.
Fenda bought a truck from the loan she took from the VISACA, to help her transport firewood and resell it in the local community and beyond. “This proved to be successful and I have gained a lot from it,” she said.