This is the main Tabitha Cambodia program and participation in the program is a pre-requisite for families or villages to participate in any of the other programs.
Many poor Cambodian families have no house and virtually no possessions. Despite this poverty, most families generate a meagre weekly income, which may be earned by collecting and selling empty plastic bottles or cutting grass for sale to a farmer.
Tabitha family development workers help these families to develop a vision of a better life and encourage them to join the savings program.
Each savings "cycle" lasts ten weeks. The savings are collected weekly by Tabitha workers and returned with 10 percent interest at the end of the cycle. Before starting to save, each family decides what they are saving for (their "dream") and is encouraged to purchase that item at the end of the cycle.
Saving the equivalent of 25 cents a week soon allows the purchase of life-transforming items such as a water pot, a set of crockery, or clothes for the children. After several cycles, families save for income producing items such as a fishing net, piglets, chickens, oxen, a watering can, or a bicycle to take produce to market, etc. These changes bring the family a stable food supply and regular income -- sometimes for the first time -- and allow for steadily increasing weekly savings. Most families eventually save for land and a house.
It costs Tabitha $25 to support 1 family for 1 year on the Family Development Program.
Most families remain on the "Family Development through Savings Program" for about 7-8 years, at which time they have usually attained food and income security, children in school, some form of health care. At this point they are "graduated" from the program.
There are currently 59,000 families (affecting 472,000 people) on the "Family Development through Savings Program" and over 187,000 families (1,500,000 people) have "graduated" from the program.