Every year on October 31st, the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) and its members across the world celebrate World Savings Day. For more than 90 years, the aim of this day has been to promote saving money and to raise awareness on the important role that savings and retail banking play within the general financial system. World Savings Day also highlights the ethical characteristics that banking institutions need to have in order to be responsible partners in communities, serve households, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local authorities.
This year, World Savings Day particularly highlights the theme of “Sustainable Finance: savings are globally diverse, savings banks are united in responsibility”.
Aflatoun and World Savings Day
In the past few years, Aflatoun International has celebrated World Savings Day recognising the importance of furthering financial literacy and good savings behaviours worldwide. Through social and financial education, entrepreneurial skills and learning how to save money and resources, children and young people can become agents of change, having positive effects on both their own futures as well as on their communities. For over 15 years, Aflatoun has taught millions of children how to save and spend money responsibly and we have seen some amazing examples of savings initiatives set up by our students, teachers and partners!
Ecuador: Homemade Masks and Hand Sanitisers
During the past two years, whilst the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting global education systems, Aflatoun partners kept their financial education programmes going through digital, distance learning and, when possible, in person.
When the pandemic hit, the Educational Unit “Otto Arosemena Gómez” in Milagro, Ecuador, where the Aflatoun programme is supported by Fundación CRISFE, was forced to close its doors. However, an enthusiastic student thought back on the social and financial lessons he received, what he had learnt from them and he came up with a proposition for other students at his institution: to produce their own masks and hand sanitisers! In this way, he explained, families could save money by not buying these products elsewhere and, at the same time, the whole community could protect themselves from COVID-19, so as to go back to school and be able to meet again as soon as possible.
“Aflatoun encouraged me to believe in myself, that I can bring change in this world with my ideas on how to save money and start this business project”.
China: Pocket Money turned into Savings
Another brilliant example of the importance of savings comes from our partner BeBetter, who shared the experience of Mrs Wang, a primary school teacher in Guoyuan county, China. Mrs Wang has taught Chinese for more than 35 years and has now been teaching the Aflatoun programme for 3 years. When asked why she was determined to teach the Aflatoun curriculum in her school, Mrs Wang explained that children in this rural community are in need of financial literacy education because they grow up with bad consumption habits, which expose them to the risk of not being able to save money and accumulate debt when they are older.
Mrs Wang shared that, before the financial literacy programme, her students used to spend their pocket money really quickly. Now, they started saving and some even asked their parents to open a savings account in a bank. Mrs Wang highlighted how important it is to educate children to be financially responsible from an early age, as this will lead them to a better life.