Vision Fund reaches its millionth clientThis month World Vision celebrated a tremendous milestone in World Vision’s ministry. VisionFund, World Vision’s microfinance subsidiary, reached its millionth client.
This means that a million people across 35 countries are receiving financial services that were previously out of their reach. As a result, more than three million children now have better lives because their families and communities are economically empowered.
Seetha “Annakili” Lechchami, a 48-year-old tea plucker in Sri Lanka, is VisionFund’s millionth client. She and her husband Ganapathi have lived for 25 years in a tiny pair of rooms in a line of identical homes on the plantation on which they both work. Like so many poor tea pickers, the couple had no choice but to bring up their children in squalid conditions and quiet desperation.
They tried to break out of the stranglehold of poverty but their efforts rebounded on them each time. An attempt to keep a cow failed because they couldn’t spare enough time from their long working day to care for it. Mrs Lechchami went to work in Saudi Arabia, but while she was there a landslide killed her youngest daughter; it was more than a year before she was allowed to go home to mourn her.
Mrs Lechchami first heard about VisionFund on an ordinary day at work plucking tea bush leaves. A friend said an organisation had started working in the area and had already made some loans to people like her. Mrs Lechchami had never heard of such a thing, and went to find out more.
She borrowed US$150 this last May and purchased a pregnant goat and its kids, with the intention of selling the males for meat and keeping the females to breed.
“All of us here in the estates pluck tea to earn a living,” Mrs Lechchami says. “We have no other source of income and no way of starting something new.”
Now, she has great plans. Once they have made enough money, she and Ganapathi want to build a new home on a patch of land allocated to him by the plantation. They are continuing to support their daughter who recently married. And they plan to put money aside to help their grandchildren achieve a better life.
VisionFund’s investment in Mrs Lechchami is a small sum, considering it not only buys goats but it also re-instils a family’s hope and offers a way out of a lifetime of grinding physical labour.
Mrs Lechchami is just one in a million. So many others are receiving financial empowerment that meaningfully contributes to World Vision’s passion for long-term, sustainable transformation.