Thursday, February 19, 2009

What is a Savings Circle PART II

I was inspired to explore the intimate functions of a Saving Circle sometime late in 2008. The life Pete and I are creating seems to beckon to a method of humanizing our relationship with Value, and in the process reinvent our relationship with money. After more than 15 weeks of regular DREAM COMING TRUE Posts here on VardoForTwo, the shift from spending Dream Money to Saving Circle is to me, a natural progression. A tiny home lifestyle could be better served within a community that knows, trusts and values me, Pete, and all we touch.

Here's what I found in my mailbox a couple weeks ago. The following quotes are from the letter I received from Michelle Mungall of the Circle of Habondia Lending Society, in the West Kooteney Region of British Columbia, CA.

Dear friend,

We are writing you to introduce the Circle of Habondia Lending Soceity, to share our vision and to encourage you to invest in the women of your community. Through the sharing of resoures, we envision a society whee abundance is a way of life ...

From the Circle's Organizing Principles

Habondia, the real abundance, is the power
To say yes and to say no, to open
And to close, to take or to leave
And not to be taken by force or law
Or fear or poverty or hunger or need.

I have a long and varied history as an organizer and leader of future visions. As a young woman, I worked with a band of other young women and designed the first Early Childhood Education Programs where the teacher taught from the child's home. Those programs began Head Start's Home Base proto-type, still alive and well today, thirty some years later.

Something in me loves to spark new possibilities, or meld two existing separate pieces into something yet to be. That's how I feel about inciting the belief that Saving Circles are a hands on real solution to my community's sense of value, worth and resources. Pete and I are nearing our initial goal: Build and live in VARDOFORTWO. Each step of the way ... whether moving forward with a successful materials choice and completed wall or a step backward because my sensitive self could not be with a material, we have shared the journey. Blogging offers a level of transparency uncommon in past histories. Storytelling has reached new heights!

The next step: build a community we can support, and a community that will support us. In a few weeks we will hitch the VARDOFORTWO up to a rented flat bed trailer and make our maiden voyage to the foothills of the Olympics. Two friends with eight acres of Earth are willing to let us park VARDOFORTWO, and the four of us will begin growing a community. A whole chapter opens up to us with that next step.

Gathering and sharing the idea and practical steps involved in forming a Saving Circle is one of the things I will be nurturing this year.
"Informal savings clubs have a long history all around the world...But we have had to wait for the Village Savings and Loan Association movement to show how the same basic principles can be used by, and be useful to, poor and very poor people who, because of illiterarcy or isolation or discrimination, never before had a chance to test out the ideas..." -Stuart Rutherford, author of The Poor and Their Money
Definitions of "financial wealth" and "poverty" in countries like America are changing. Our personal story as a pair of old dears who live within a global society where environmental illness must be 'proven' rather than rectified at its source, has been enough to reinvent wealth and poverty for us. The poll we posted last week showed some interest in Saving Circles. I hope you will email us or leave a comment if your interest includes being part of forming a Saving Circle. We live in Washington state, and would welcome hearing from our neighbors interested in this form of Simplicity and Reconnection. We find ourselves at this stage of life more like the village "poor isolated or discriminated against" and yet, that does not turn us into victims of society. We are very conscious of the systems which challenge us. Equally though, we know what our strengths are and what resourceful souls we are. Our journeys (separately and together) define these strengths and our values. This blog is all about transformation. There is room for transformation in the way we support, save and value our resources.

I'll close this week's post with this excerpt from the book Village Savings & Loan Associations Chapter 1 "How the methodology works".

" The basic principle of the VSL system is that members of a self-selected group voluntarily form a VSLA and save money, in the form of shares...
The primary purpose of a VSLA is to provide simple savings and loan facilities in a community that does not have access to formal financial services. Loans can also provide a form of self-insurance to members, supplemented by a social fund that provides small but important grants and interest-free loans to membes in distress...
All transactions should be carried out at meetings in front of all the members of the association, to ensure transparency and accountability. To ensurce that transactions do not take place outside the regular meetings, a lockable cash-box is used, both to prevent unauthorized cash movement and to avoid the risk that records might be tampered with."
Here a link to another view of GROUPS in collaboration, 'Giving Circles.' There are ideas for forming a 'Giving Circle that might incite you to start one of your own, or transform these basic steps into a Savings and Giving Circle in your community.

Timing is divine and the time is now. Cheers, Mokihana

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