Financial freedom for Women in the Philippines
“I am just a housewife with seven kids, but I feel I can help [carry] my husband’s burdens because I saved money through COMSCA.”
A vital part of our work in the Philippines is giving families in the communities where we work the ability to control their own finances. COMSCA is key in empowering women in particular to save money and financially contribute to their households.
Erlinda Salazar is a 37 year old mother of seven living in the Philippines, and a part of one of these COMSCA groups.
Erlinda’s husband, a construction worker for many years, suffered a serious, debilitating sickness which left him incapable of providing for his family’s needs. Things were looking dire for Erlinda and her family and she was faced with the prospect of leaving her young children and husband behind as she travelled overseas in bid to find work. Then Erlinda’s plans all changed. She was introduced to ChildLink and then to the COMSCA (Community Managed Savings and Credit Association) program.
COMSCA is a community managed and operated program that trains people how to manage, save and wisely spend their money, and importantly provides those in the community access to low interest loans from a funding pool created and managed by the community itself.
Erlinda was trained with COMSCA in 2016 and was coached in the development of self-discipline and savings techniques. She was immediately encouraged to put her newly acquired skills into practise and for the first time was able to save money. After some time Erlinda was able to afford to spoil her husband, children and friends with a night out at a local restaurant - this was a first for them all and a lovely reward for Erlinda’s hard work.
Pictured: A proud Erlinda beams with confidence knowing she can provide for her family.
She soon took up the role of chairperson with COMSCA, such was the community’s trust in her abilities and character. As chairperson she was given the great delight of assisting others in the community as they too accessed a new world of opportunities that COMSCA offered. It was not long before Erlinda’s children and extended family members also joined the COMSCA program and they too now are saving and earning money (funds saved with COMSCA are returned to the depositors with interest after being used as loans).
Recently, a sick family member required urgent medical care after being rushed to hospital. Other money lenders offered loans that came with huge interest rates, but Erlinda was able to access COMSCA funding at very low interest and secure the treatment for the family member.
Erlinda says, “I am just a housewife with seven kids, but I feel I can help [carry] my husband’s burdens because I saved money through COMSCA.”
Erlinda freely attributes COMSCA with saving her family, keeping them together, providing them with valuable life skills and helping them become self-sufficient.
Cover image: COMSCA women at the signing of the memorandum at Goldenville College. The memorandum is a partnership between COMSCA, our local partner on the ground and the community to build the capacity of youth in the area by providing after school programs for students.