Our first article discussed planning, in our second feature we will be taking you through the importance of sharing. Being far away from home; makes us to better appreciate the importance of living in a community. One of the key learning lessons from my side was the sense of togetherness which became apparent when I met my good friend Jason Kirugumi, with whom we realized we have similar concerns and needs. I remember how we championed a small Chama of 4 individuals, and we would meet once a month in rotation at a member’s home. In these meetings we would share ideas, however, most importantly dream of a life back home in Kenya.
The Chama tradition creates a sense of sharing and caring for each other. Most people come together to raise funds for either emergencies such as a loss of a loved one. Many though come together for investment purposes. And of course we cannot forget the merry-go-rounds; that allow for an individual’s purchase of a big ticket item (e.g. a vehicle) or even pay for a family vacation. I am sure most of you can relate and/or are a member of a Chama or 2.
Chamas or Group Banking is now a concept that has now grown to more than just sharing in times of a crisis but evolved to formalized institutions that are able to invest in businesses and real estate. Chama or Group Banking is now viable vehicle recognized by financial institutions, they receive financial advisory services e.g. investment (both short-term and long-term), education planning etc.
Overall, when you are in the Diaspora and missing home, sometimes sharing your experiences with fellow Kenyans is important. It is similarly important to apply the same concept to your finances and planning for the future. Share your successes and build a future together.
James Ndungu, Chase Bank, Diaspora Banking