Ohh I know this by another name too. I'm Somali and we call it a 'hagbad'. Primarily done by the women and since most Somalis are Muslims, its a great way to get money quickly that doesn't involve banks and interest. My parents used it for big purchases such as family holidays. I actually used it to pay off my Masters as the university wanted the money upfront and though I earned enough to pay it over the year, I didn't have it all at the time they wanted it by.
Love this article, I never realised that other cultures had it as well.