Five Countries

Five Ways to Bring Hope for Tomorrow


Savings for Life Saves Lives in the Slums of Kenya

Bringing Hope for tomorrow through life-impacting programs of sustainability is our specialty. And teaching the poor how to make, save, and grow their money—as taught through Bright Hope’s Savings for Life (SFL) program—is one of the most practical lessons of sustainability we teach in the field. Yet it’s not a program that we talk about much.

SFL is a savings and loan program overseen by Mathare Community Outreach (MCO). The program is staffed by a well-organized and energetic staff who are focused on bringing a safe and effective savings program to their community.

The SFL program is comprised of self-governing groups. Group members each contribute a set amount of money to the group’s savings each week. They are then able to request loans from their group at a fair interest rate and loan period. SFL is different from microloan programs in that all of the money invested comes directly from the group members. There is a high level of accountability in these groups as seen in the way they access the savings. Their money is kept in a box with three locks. In order to access the money, someone would need two other people from the group to agree and oversee the loan process.

We are so pleased with the progress and transformation we’ve seen in the life of so many SFL members. Today we want to share Emily’s SFL transformation story. I think you’ll see why we are so excited!

Emily Anupi is a 30-year-old businesswoman, wife, and mother of three from Mathare Valley, who’s taken a different path to provide for her family.

The people in Mathare Valley often feel forced to turn to crime, prostitution, and selling illicit brew to make a little money to buy what they need for the day. Even a life of corruption in the slums rarely generates enough to satisfy a family’s most basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and education. But in a slum with few opportunities, finding a good-paying job feels about as unlikely as money falling from the sky. What can people do to get by?

That’s what Emily is about to find out.

Starting a business was hard for Emily since she didn’t have any money. Yet, what she lacked in cash, she made up for in good counsel. Emily took some advice from the people at Mathare Community Outreach (MCO) School, where her children attended, to join a Savings for Life (SFL) group. After saving for three months, Emily took her first loan and opened the business she is now running. Since her start with SFL in 2015, Emily has taken multiple loans and has joined and started many new SFL groups.

Being a living testament to the life-change that can result from a SFL membership, Emily eagerly trained as a community agent and started forming her own groups. One of her groups was called “Wisdom 2,” and it was through this group she was able to expand her business and pay her children’s school fees.

Emily’s training opened her eyes to the gap that stood between herself and her friends. Most of them did not belong to a SFL group. In fact, most everyone she knew could not save any of the little money they made. Most spent their cash immediately, and by the end of the week had nothing left.

“I decided to use what I’d learned to help my friends. It was so hard trying to bring them together because they thought I was trying to con them. But eventually, I made them understand that I was doing this to help them,” Emily shared.

She had to work hard to help her friends see the importance of staying committed to the group. Often members would skip meetings or show up late. At times she would lose hope, but she kept encouraging them to participate and attend the meetings.

However, all this changed when they took their first loan and started seeing the benefit for themselves.

“I thank God that despite the challenges and risks of lending money in the slum, my group has not defaulted at any time. They take up the loans actively and repay on time.”

Emily has grown a lot since she joined her first SFL group. She’s advanced from member, to trainer, to record keeper. Emily plans to expand her business in three years and is considering taking SFL home to the western part of Kenya. Now that she feels empowered, she wants to empower others too.

“SFL is good, and it has helped a lot of people, including me!”

When you give a gift to support Bright Hope’s Savings for Life program, you offer residents in the Mathare Valley slum access to a low-interest loan and the accountability and support from a savings group. You are giving them a real opportunity to Hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Your donation of $50, $100, or $150 will help start SFL groups in high-poverty areas and expand programs to give members access to larger loans and expand their areas of interest.

This Christmas, give a gift that helps build sustainability for the poor, bringing them real Hope for tomorrow.

Our Five Countries:

SFL brings Hope for Tomorrow!

  •  It promotes sustainability for its members, allowing them to plan for tomorrow by keeping money in their pockets today.
  • SFL loans provide funds without restrictions, enabling members to build a future without fear
  • The program offers the community’s most vulnerable opportunity to start their own business and manage it without depending on outside agencies.
  • It brings Hope for tomorrow by empowering women to take leadership positions within society and in their homes.

“The unity that SFL has brought is great; it brings us together as a community.”

Remmy from Tunaweza SFL Group

“SFL is more than just meetings and saving money…I receive spiritual nourishment every time I attend the weekly meetings.”

Jane from Tujijenge SFL Group

“Savings for Life is a blessing because it brings people of all calibers together for the common goal of saving for development. It has empowered me despite all the challenges. SFL brings Hope”

Jennifer from Wisdom SFL Group

“The interest rate of 10% for the loan is manageable instead of the standard bank rates, which are crazy, and so is the cost of living! The SFL system is simple, no paperwork is required, and one can borrow loans and return with flexibility, which is just what I needed to get me to the next level!”

Peter from Tumaini SFL group

“My children have been going to school without any problems since I took a loan from our SFL group to pay their school fees. I also started a shoe selling business. All these changes have happened because of SFL.”

Michael from Unique SFL group