Friday, September 15, 2023

Zimbabwean Women Thrive with $5 and $10 Weekly Savings Club | TOME


Title: Finding Strength in an Informal Support System: A Hawker’s Journey in a Bank-Distrusting Country


Losing a loved one is an incredibly challenging experience that can leave one feeling vulnerable and alone. For a hawker, a widow left to navigate life’s uncertainties alone, finding support can be even more challenging, especially in a country where many people distrust banks. However, amidst this adversity, there is a glimmer of hope as informal support systems emerge to provide solace and stability.

1. The Loss of a Husband:

The sudden loss of a husband can be emotionally devastating, leaving a widow grappling with grief and uncertainty. In such a difficult time, the need for support becomes paramount. However, in a country where many people distrust banks, traditional avenues of assistance may not be readily available.

2. The Challenge of Distrust in Banks:

In a society where banks are often viewed with skepticism, individuals like our hawker face additional obstacles when seeking financial assistance. The lack of trust stems from various factors, including past financial crises and the perception that banks prioritize profits over the well-being of their customers. Consequently, this distrust creates a void that needs to be filled by alternative means.

3. The Emergence of Informal Support Systems:

In this bank-distrusting environment, informal support systems have become a lifeline for individuals like our hawker. These networks are built on trust, community bonds, and shared experiences, offering emotional and financial support when traditional avenues fail.

4. Community-Based Lending Circles:

One example of an informal support system is community-based lending circles. These circles consist of individuals who pool their resources and contribute regular amounts to a collective fund. When a member requires financial assistance, they can borrow from the fund and repay it over time. This system not only provides immediate financial aid but also fosters a sense of solidarity and mutual trust within the community.

5. Microfinance Institutions:

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) have also emerged as a vital source of support for individuals in need. These institutions offer small loans, savings accounts, and other financial services to low-income individuals who may not have access to traditional banking services. By providing financial inclusion and support, MFIs empower individuals like our hawker to build their businesses and improve their livelihoods.

6. Support from Local Hawker Associations:

In addition to informal lending circles and MFIs, local hawker associations play a crucial role in providing support to widows and other vulnerable members of the community. These associations often have welfare funds that offer financial aid during times of hardship. Moreover, they provide a sense of belonging and camaraderie, ensuring that no one feels alone in their struggles.

7. Emotional Support and Empowerment:

Beyond the financial assistance, these informal support systems offer emotional support and empowerment to widows like our hawker. The shared experiences and understanding within these networks create a safe space for individuals to express their grief, fears, and hopes. Through this emotional support, widows can regain their strength and resilience, finding the courage to face life’s challenges head-on.


Losing a spouse is undoubtedly a difficult journey, but for a hawker in a country where banks are distrusted, the challenges can seem insurmountable. However, amidst this adversity, informal support systems have emerged as a beacon of hope. Through community-based lending circles, microfinance institutions, and local hawker associations, widows like our protagonist find the support they need to rebuild their lives. These networks not only provide financial aid but also foster a sense of belonging, empowerment, and resilience. In a society where trust in banks may be lacking, these informal support systems prove that strength can be found in the unlikeliest of places.

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