SAPNA, BACHAT, UDAAN PROGRAM TEACHES CHILDREN

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26 Nov, 18 11:14
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SAPNA, BACHAT, UDAAN PROGRAM TEACHES CHILDREN Udaipur: Children who participated in the financial empowerment program - Sapna, Bachat, Udaan: Aarthik Bal, Har Parivarka Haqgained the ability to differentiate between what they want and what they need, paving the way for a more financially stable future. In 2015, Sesame Workshop in India(SWI), the organization behind GalliGalli SimSim (the Indian adaptation of Sesame Street), and MetLife Foundation launched the Indian adaptation of the global,multi-media program in Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Delhi. Targeting 3 to8-year-old children and their parents, the program helps families make well-informed decisions about spending, saving and sharing for the present and the future, and equipsthemwith content to improve their knowledge, attitudes and practices around financial empowermentskills.
Qualitative research was conducted to assess if there were any changes in knowledge or behaviors around spending and savings among children who attended this program in Dungarpur, Rajasthan. The findings from the in-depth interviews with caregivers, children and facilitators, and observations of workshop sessions showed that children learned important concepts like ‘needs and wants’ and ‘saving’ through the program.
Needs versus wants
Differentiating between needs and wants is an important skill that children need to know in order to make informed choices and spend money wisely. Many caregivers reported that after attending the Sapna, Bachat, Udaan program, their children gained the ability to differentiate between things they want (for example, sweets or snacks) and things they need (for example, pencils or pens).
Saving
The program also supported caregivers’ and children’s understanding and practice of saving. Most caregivers reported that children learned that an important way of saving is to avoid purchase of items from the market and create them locally at home. They understood that money saved, little by little, can result in larger savings and more expensive items can be bought from the accumulated savings. Interviews by facilitators and master trainers revealed that through the program children gradually started saving for larger and more expensive items such as a cupboard to keep their books or an extra set of school uniforms, as compared to saving for comparatively smaller items like a pencil or an eraser. They sometimes even helpedtheir parents to pay their school fees.
Dreams and aspirations
Caregivers realized that young children should also have dreams and aspirations, and that they should plan well ahead to achieve these. Caregivers reported that, after being exposed to specific activities in the program, many children began to have career aspirations and understood that they could save money to achieve their goals such as completing higher education or buying study materials and books.
Ira Joshi, Vice President, Education & Research, Sesame Workshop in India says, “As children grow into young adults, it is important for them to know how to budget, make wise financial choices, manage risks and save for emergencies. A strong foundation of financial empowerment concepts and ample opportunity to practice them from an early age can help children grow into financially responsible adults. Teaching children concepts of spending, saving and sharing can equip them to face challenges and be better prepared to cope with uncertain economic situations in the future. Our approach for the Sapna, Bachat, Udaan program was to use the power of Sesame Street charactersto incorporate and model concepts related to financialempowerment in simple and appropriate ways and to facilitate open communication and interaction between children and adults. The qualitative research shows that we have been successful in our attempt. We are proud to see that families are talking about aspirations and ways of achieving dreams through planning, organizing and saving.”
“Both MetLife Foundation and Sesame Workshop have long histories of supporting the communities in which we work. Our goal is to ensure that families have access to the knowledge which will put them on the path to financial security,” said Krishna Thacker, Director – Asia Region, MetLife Foundation. “We are proud to see that the Sapna, Bachat, Udaan program has been able to create a positive impact in the lives of underprivileged children in the communities in which we operate.”
The ability to plan, make choices and learn how to wait is essential to understanding the concepts of saving and spending. As with so many other critical life skills, establishing a firm foundation of financial literacy in the earliest years is essential to building positive lifelong habits. Sapna, Bachat, Udaan is one step in this direction.
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