September 06, 2023   by


Chamas, the informal savings and investment groups, are not unique to a single culture or region. They are a universal concept, demonstrating that people from diverse backgrounds share a common goal: financial empowerment. In this article, we will embark on a global journey to explore the fascinating world of Chamas in different cultures, highlighting their cultural significance and the valuable lessons they offer.

Chamas in African Cultures: Ubuntu and Community Solidarity

In many African cultures, Chamas are deeply rooted in the philosophy of Ubuntu, which emphasizes community, interconnectedness, and mutual support. These Chamas serve as social safety nets, promoting a sense of responsibility towards fellow members and nurturing a culture of shared wealth and communal growth.

Chama in Latin America: Tandas and Roscas

Latin American cultures have their own versions of Chamas, known as Tandas and Roscas. Tandas involve a group of individuals contributing a fixed amount of money periodically, with one member receiving the entire sum in rotation. Roscas, on the other hand, focus on collective savings, encouraging participants to save for specific goals, such as education or home purchases.

Asian Chamas: Hui in China and Arisan in Indonesia

In China, the Hui is a traditional savings club where members pool their funds and take turns receiving a lump sum. Similarly, Indonesia’s Arisan revolves around communal savings and is often used to support members during significant life events. Both Chamas reflect the importance of group harmony and mutual trust in Asian cultures.

Middle Eastern Chamas: Sous in Morocco and Gam’eya in Egypt

In Morocco, Chamas known as Sous foster a sense of community and provide financial stability. Participants contribute regularly and take turns receiving the pooled funds. Egypt’s Gam’eya follows a similar principle, strengthening social bonds and helping members meet their financial goals.

Chamas in Western Contexts: Investment Clubs and Social Groups

Even in Western cultures, Chamas take on different forms. Investment clubs are groups of individuals who pool their money to invest in stocks and other assets. These clubs provide a platform for financial education and collaborative investment decisions. Social Chamas, on the other hand, focus on building friendships and shared experiences rather than financial gain.


Chamas are a testament to the universal desire for financial security, community support, and shared prosperity. They transcend cultural boundaries, reminding us that regardless of where we come from, we share common values of cooperation, trust, and the pursuit of financial empowerment.

As we explore Chamas in different cultures, we gain a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of human societies. Whether it’s the Ubuntu philosophy in Africa, Tandas in Latin America, or Hui in China, Chamas serve as timeless symbols of unity and resilience in the face of financial challenges. In a globalized world, these cultural treasures offer valuable lessons on the power of collaboration, trust, and shared financial goals.

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This post was written by Fred Murigi

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