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SALT savings groups expand in Myanmar


SALT savings group members in Myanmar are excited about the gradual change they see happening. “Before the savings group started, I was borrowing money with 30 percent interest,” said Ma Pi, a widow with five children. She said saving money has helped meet her family’s daily needs and she no longer needs to borrow from others at high interest. “I have many reasons to save in this group,” continued Ma Pi. “For example, for health problems or personal difficulties.”

The SALT program continues to expand as funding is available and opportunities arise. In Myanmar, SALT savings groups continue to grow. This impoverished country in southeast Asia is rich in natural resources, but it is one of the most economically depressed countries in Asia. As one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, Myanmar often faces floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides, and droughts.

Why are SALT savings groups needed in Myanmar?

  • Bible-based teaching is greatly needed. Approximately 87 percent of Myanmar’s population is Buddhist, while a mere 6.2 percent profess to be Christian. SALT savings groups create a platform to provide a steady diet of Christ-centered teaching.
  • Savings groups teach responsibility and accountability. Our goal for SALT savings groups is to provide a setting where people can learn to responsibly manage their resources. High levels of accountability and frequent meetings help build this trait.
  • Many people depend on high-interest loans and have not learned to save. Loans from other sources have exorbitant interest rates. Many bank loans are hard to get and have interest rates of over 6 percent. Some people even resort to “loan sharks” and pay as much as 20 to 30 percent interest monthly!

Ten SALT savings groups are operating in Myanmar. Group members are learning Bible truths as well as ways to improve their businesses. “Because of the lessons, my business is better than before and I am selling more,” says Khin Ma Ma (pictured below). “I didn’t understand much about business before. Even if I can’t read the lessons, I can listen as others read them. The lessons are the best thing for me.”