Celmar Palao, Philippines

“The most challenging [thing] I have learned… at aidha is about savings. Before I found aidha, I always sent all my salary back home. It was difficult for me to say ‘no’ to those who ask me for help, especially on financial problems. … One of my brothers [once] said: ‘If we have a problem Celmar will immediately help us.’ … That’s the time I realised that I was not doing good [for] them. I taught them to be lazy and they just depended on me. But now I am strong enough to say ‘no’ and I will help – but it depends on what kind of problem they have.

… From the time I joined aidha, I managed to have fixed savings of $50 to $100 per month. I managed to finish paying for my residential land, build a simple house and buy a tricycle. Now I’m focusing on cash savings of $200 per month. The Compass Club inspired me to open another bank account to have an automatic transfer every month so I do not have direct access to the money. I’m so happy about what I did – it is more exciting when I see my savings growing.”

Celmar Palao, Philippines