The Marak family, the Free A Family® representatives for Asia, have experienced the blessings of a supportive community. For Martha, one of these blessings is her membership in a self-help group that was started through NEICORD, World Renew’s Christian partner in her village.*

Today is 25th Anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

“I want to learn how to farm better, how to save money, how to set goals and achieve them and how to be a good mother to my children,” Martha shared with confidence. “In my group, I am learning I am not alone and that we as neighbors are helping each other. We trust each other.”

Martha’s group meets weekly, but they bring savings money to the group on a monthly basis.

Currently, Martha and her fellow members each contribute 30 rupees (approximately 40 cents USD) each month. This is money that Martha earns from her garden, fish pond, chickens, and sewing business. She is careful to first ensure that her children eat the nutritious food she grows before selling the excess in the market.

Through her group, Martha also took a sewing class. She is borrowing a machine as she doesn’t want to take a loan yet for a new machine. Her son John is also interested in sewing, and he is learning from his mother. Martha knows the importance of having several income-earning activities. Gardening, and raising chickens and fish can be risky due to flooding, theft, and diseases that weaken plants and animals.

Before Martha joined her self-help group, she didn’t have income sources or a plan to save, and she often didn’t have any money left over after covering her expenses. Now, she is proud to say that she has never missed a savings deposit in her group, and her funds are growing. Recently, Martha’s group used their combined monthly savings to purchase a bicycle that could be used each month to bring their money to the bank, which is located far from their village.

Martha has a list of possible ways she can use the income she has saved. She could pay for her four children to go to school, repair the house, or buy the land where their house is located. A couple of her friends work in silk worm farming and silk spinning, and Martha is considering doing this as well, to earn more income.

Martha Marak and other women from Nongladew walk along a road between rice paddies
on their way home from church;a ll the women sing in the choir and play drums.

Each day, Martha’s children continue to grow in their understanding of the Bible and God’s love. She continues to pray to God for wisdom and guidance as she cares for her family, and she is thankful for her accomplishments.

Today is the 25th Annivesary of the International Day for the Eradiction of Poverty. World Renew’s Free A Family program has been changing the story of poverty for the same amount of time, and continues today to reach hundreds of communities in Asia, East Africa, Latin America, Southern Africa, and West Africa.

*This Free A Family update was sent to supporters of Free A Family Asia in September. When you join Free A Family, you will receive a quarterly update for your representative family too!