5 Ways 'Esusu' Helped Our Parents in Britain
One of the most common ways traditional wisdom is passed is via proverbs, sayings and oral literature. At Bloom, we believe in the traditional tried and tested community wealth generating methods such as gameeya, committees, hagbad, ajo, or esusu bringing circles to your phone so you can easily borrow or save money within your community or social group. These collective schemes which allow trusted friends and communities to save together and have been popular in Caribbean and African communities for many decades in the UK and beyond.
Checkout these five reasons many of our parents have and continue to use the 'Ajo' rotations scheme and why subsequent generations should consider:
1. The peer pressure will force you to save.
Kapinga mwenda peke. (Swahili)
The opponent has returned to solitude.
I really don’t understand why ‘peer pressure’ should only be regarded as a negative. It can be used especially for those with the humility to admit they need the help others to be disciplined; for a good cause. How much more for wealth building; especially if the community is involved. The one that stays close to roses will always smell nice; and thus one that saves alongside others within a ‘pooled’ setting usually benefits from the ‘healthy competition’.
2. There is a sense of community and socialising.
Asiyefawa na wake hufawa na mwenziwe. (Swahili)
hose who are not helped by their own people are usually helped by the people of their friends.
Spot on! My mum’s women’s meeting used their funds for investment purposes; family and group outings. The pardna groups extended way beyond mere giving and receiving. It brings people together, you familiarise, network, connect, discover common interests and passions and surprising friendships form, develop and blossom. Stokvel members traditionally meet regularly and make an occasion of the meetings.
3. You will always learn something.
Alioko ulimwenguni hajaisha (or hajesha) kuumbwa. (Swahili)
A person who is here in the world has not yet been totally created.
The proverb is spot on in this regards. A person goes on learning until death. A person is being formed [created) as long as that person lives. With Stokvels; one can always learn from others. Some stokvels operate like investment clubs and invest in the stock exchange or companies. Members do their homework, deliberate about which shares or companies to invest in and make investment decisions.
4. Knowing ‘when’ helps better to plan your finances
Mkowa wa mlafi hurarukararuka ukiwa mpya. (Swahili)
The belt of the glutton gets torn again and again, when it is new.
Yep! The over consuming usually have ever-changing habits and appearances. Careful planning is needed before taking a decision. Morgan Housel in his book ‘The Psychology of Money’ declared how “saving is the gap between your ego and your income” and community savings teach not necessarily to save what is left after spending but prior to spending. You are coerced into Careful Planning and Discipline habits. Knowing when you will receive a windfall amount makes it easier to plan your finances. Patience will always attract happiness; it brings close what is far away. It makes difficult things possible.
5. Highly reduced chances of savings being stolen when using an app
Kidole kimoja kikiumia, vingine vyatoa damu.
If one finger hurts, the other fingers are bleeding.
Aside from the reduced chances of savings being stolen if the money is moving rather than saving the money at home; there is also a further reduced chance if the circles are fair, transparent and rewards based. How many of us have heard stories of people running away with the money after payment? Well; the Bloom Circles app is a secure, convenient, digital way to preserve this continuing traditional and cultural practice. The pain of one harms the whole community.
And there you go!
Written by Tholani Alli
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