A special thanks to our Cada Mes Club – Friendship Bridge’s monthly donors – for supporting our clients on their monthly journeys.
Each month the members of every Trust Bank travel, most likely by foot, to their designated meeting places to make payments on their loans and receive a Non-Formal Education lesson in their native languages on one of the four pillars – women, family, business, and health.
July – Budgeting
A necessity when developing a successful business is creating a budget to manage cash flow. Our clients identified the expenses and incomes of a fictional Guatemalan woman who needs wood for her stove, receives money from her sister in the U.S., sends her son to school with a new notebook, buys bananas for the chocobananos she sells at the market, and picks up a pair of shoes for her daughter. The women then practiced tallying the expenses and incomes in separate columns so they could subtract expenses from revenue. A discussion about which expenses would be considered an investment (an encyclopedia or a trip to the movie) rounded out the meeting.
August – Saving
Piggy-backing the prior month’s lesson on budgeting, in August our clients considered what to do with money left over after expenses are paid. To bolster the idea of being ready for the unexpected, a list of 10 events such as weddings, disease, school, and old age were presented in a big chart. The women were asked to place markers on the events that cannot be expected. Each woman went home with a piggy bank she made from a plastic bottle – cap for a snout, tail glued on, slot cut in the top.
September – Sexual/Reproductive Rights
Ensuring that our clients are aware of their right to autonomous control over all matters relating to sexuality, including health, childbearing, and consent was the goal of this lesson. In an effort to encourage personal care, the women began by assessing the main parts of the female body and commenting on why each is appreciated. For example, “My hands allow me to greet and caress.” Next the women reflected on the various messages they may have received about their sexuality via family, school, and the media. Some messages included: only the woman is responsible for her sexual health, a discussion on sex refers to couples only, family planning is wrong, and a gynecological visit is required only once after the start of menstruation. Lively discussion due to differences of opinion was expected and encouraged.
Here are a few client reactions:
“The topic about savings is extremely important to implement, and it is much better if we include our children, so they can grow with this habit.”- Eugenia, age 32 (pictured with her sons and her piggy bank)