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JA SparktheDream: Cultivating Children’s Money Management Habits for a Solid Financial Future!

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JA SparktheDream: Cultivating Children’s Money Management Habits for a Solid Financial Future!

“I really enjoyed participating in the activities and gaining knowledge through the JA SparktheDream programme. Learning about savings and managing money for daily use was very helpful. The volunteers were fun and friendly, and the content was easy to understand. I especially liked the games, which made the learning experience enjoyable. Nowadays, I use what I’ve learned when my parents give me pocket money. I save some of it to use in times of need or to buy things that I want without having to ask my parents,” shared Nong Ai-Aoon, Natnicha Apirakjit, a Grade 5 student from Pathaivittaya School in Nakhon Pathom Province. She was among nearly 1,000 students who participated in the JA SparktheDream financial literacy workshop for youth in grades 4-6 in Bangkok and its suburbs.

The JA SparktheDream programme, a collaboration between FWD Life Insurance Plc. (“FWD Insurance”) and the Junior Achievement Thailand Foundation (“JA Thailand”), has been operational since 2023. Its primary objective is to impart financial and social knowledge, along with basic life skills, to enable informed financial decision-making and establish a solid financial foundation for youth from an early age. The programme aims to reach 3,000 primary students and thousands more of their peers by 2024 at the primary school level, ensuring that they are equipped with the necessary skills to navigate their financial futures confidently.

The financial education programme encompasses four key lessons: 1) focuses on income generation, savings strategies, and responsible spending habits; 2) emphasises financial planning and stresses the importance of keeping track of income and expenses; 3) explores the significance of inspiration and financial stability through interactive simulations and activities, with easily understandable content that students can readily apply in their daily lives; and 4)focuses on social innovation, design thinking, and encouraging the student to generate their own ideas for people around them. The content is crafted to be easily understandable and applicable to students’ daily lives. Through hands-on financial management lessons and insights gleaned from the real-life experiences shared by FWD Insurance volunteers, who serve as mentors, students acquire practical financial knowledge and skills. These dedicated volunteers actively participate in the workshop, offering invaluable guidance and support. Concurrently, JA Thailand takes the lead in planning lessons and coordinating with schools and teachers to ensure the seamless execution of the program.

Khun Nongnaphat Chomphunich, the teacher at Pathaivittaya School in Nakhon Pathom Province, shared, “At every level, there is already a lesson on saving. However, the content typically covers the general meaning and methods of saving, focusing on academic aspects. When the programme provided knowledge and engaged with the children, it allowed them to gain a clearer understanding of financial concepts through interactive activities. Moreover, after participating in the programme’s training activities, we observed significant changes in the children. They have become more adept at planning their finances, demonstrating a newfound ability to save rather than spend impulsively. Many now intend to save money for their desired purchases without relying on their parents for funds. It is gratifying to witness children applying critical thinking and independence to their financial decisions.”

In addition to receiving valuable knowledge from the JA SparktheDream programme, students had the opportunity to participate in the JA SparktheDream Social Challenge 2023 competition at the Asia-Pacific level. This competition, spanning six markets , including Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, allowed students to showcase their creative ideas for providing financial insights. Utilising the financial skills and tools acquired through the programme, students presented their ideas in the form of a 2-minute video, demonstrating their readiness to take charge of their financial future. With 60 teams participating, the student team from Wat Uthai Tharam School in Thailand emerged as the second runner-up, showcasing their remarkable talent and innovation in financial literacy.

Nong Jaja – Akamsiri Pochana, a representative of the competition team from Grade 6 at Wat Uthai Tharam School, shared her experience participating in the competition, stating, “Our team consisted of four members. We drew inspiration for our video clip from moral drama clips on social media. I wanted to give it a try and submit our clip to the contest. The content aimed to educate viewers on efficient money management, emphasising the importance of thoughtful spending. Our storyline revolved around a boy sitting alone, appearing hungry. When a group of friends passed by, they noticed him and learned that he had spent all his money on a new bag, leaving nothing for food. They then treated him to dessert, prompting the boy to realise the necessity of considering his expenses beforehand. We derived this concept from the knowledge gained through the JA SparktheDream programme, applying it to craft our script.”

Nong Art – Thanyatechit Treetawat expressed, “We really enjoyed the interactive sessions and particularly appreciated the bingo game introduced by the staff. It helped us grasp the taught content more effectively, and we hope to participate in similar programmes in the future. It would be beneficial if the teaching method included simulations of various situations to enhance content retention. Additionally, we extend our gratitude to all the staff and teachers who supported us in creating and submitting our work for the competition. Winning the 2nd runner-up award brought great pride to our school, and we are delighted to contribute to its reputation.”

“Encouraging kids to grasp financial knowledge early on is not just beneficial; it is essential. It helps them build good financial habits and discipline, setting them up for a secure financial future. We are passionate about creating equity and ensuring a high quality of life for Thai youth. That is why we are committed to fostering a sustainable learning society where everyone can celebrate living to the fullest without financial concerns,” explained Ms. Pavarisa Chumvigrant, Chief Marketing Officer of FWD Insurance.

M.L. Pariyada Disakul, the Executive Director of JA Thailand Foundation, emphasised, “By imparting skills and knowledge, fostering financial discipline, and highlighting the value of money, we can empower youth to develop critical thinking, analysis, planning, and action from an early age. This lays the groundwork for cultivating disciplined spending habits, saving effectively, and managing money responsibly. Such a foundation is essential for building financial resilience in the future.”

As the JA SparktheDream programme enters its second year, it maintains its commitment to equipping youth with essential financial knowledge and life skills, empowering them to navigate their finances with confidence. This year’s programme format takes an innovative approach, concentrating on training trainers who will act as knowledge transfer agents for the youth. The focus is on providing these educators with the tools for effective communication and engaging teaching methods, utilising video teaching modules. This strategy ensures that instructors not only grasp financial concepts but also excel in diverse communication formats, enabling them to effectively deliver information and meet project goals.

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