Savita and her family were very anxious because of her recently diagnosed seasonal disease. They were having sleepless nights worrying how would they manage better treatment for her in the city hospital with their limited funds. In the midst of this anxiety, Jaypal and Gopal, Savita’s young sons, stepped up and offered some money to fund their mother’s treatment. They had been saving this money for a long time in their Gullak (Piggy Bank). Using this money, Savita paid the medical expenses in the city hospital and got better.
As Savita returned from the city healthy and hearty, she and her husband realized how significant savings were in their lives. They had a pleasant smile on their faces thinking about this important life lesson, which their 8- and 10-year-old kids taught them. Today, the whole family has developed the habit of saving. Even Savita and her husband save money separately so that they have sufficient funds for dealing with such emergencies in the future.
Savings are a part of most Indian households. However, families rarely share this concept with kids, as most adults perceive them as vulnerable and too young to understand.
They do not expect this kind of responsibility from children.
Sesame Workshop in India has been working across the country with the mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We started engaging with Jaypal, Gopal, and many young learners like them two years ago when we debuted Sapna, Bachat, Udaan: Aarthik Bal, Har Parivar ka Haq in Delhi, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.
Sponsored by MetLife Foundation, this initiative is being launched in nine countries over five years. In India, the outreach in three states is aimed to reach approximately 2,55,000 people (children and caregivers) with messages around financial empowerment. However, big words like “financial empowerment” can be challenging for young children to understand, so we broke it down into simpler concepts.
Financial empowerment simply means having goals and aspirations, planning and finding means, and the right information to achieve those goals. It means having the confidence and ability to see dreams and then working towards achieving those dreams by adopting habits like planning, saving, and sharing.
Simple concepts like delaying gratification, prioritizing needs over wants, making wise choices, understanding the monetary or non-monetary value of resources, and sharing were explained to kids using fun playful methods.
Many of us have played ‘Tambola’ (aka Bingo) in our childhood. Sesame re-created this age-old game with colourful cards featuring images of daily-use items like spectacles, toy, car, and ice cream.
This new version of ‘Bingo’ encourages children to make wise choices and justify their choices. So, when an educator asks, “I have little money left in my wallet and I am very hungry, what should I buy?”, most children pick up a card with the image of a banana on it over one with ice cream. They also explain their choice, how eating a banana will be more substantial and healthy than an ice cream. With the help of ‘Bingo’, children understand that making wise choices can help them achieve their goals.
Driving on the power of the beloved Galli Galli Sim Sim characters, we used our innovative floor game Sikke Ki Yatra to help kids understand about saving, spending, and sharing. Non-verbal comic strips were also created which allow children to imagine their own stories and comprehend the world around them.
It has motivated the little dreamers to have aspirations and work towards them.
One of the comic strips, Humare Sapne, inspired 8-year-old Hiralal to become a teacher when he grows up. He has been studying hard to achieve this dream, and is also saving some money for it. On Diwali, when all his friends and siblings bought new dresses, Hiralal used his savings to buy his school uniform. Now, he can go to school regularly, and become a teacher one day.
Today, many such young kids are becoming powerful agents of change, understanding and spreading messages of financial empowerment. They understand the importance of having dreams for their future and the strategies that can help them achieve those goals. Such stories reflect the power of high-quality, informative, and engaging content. They can help children become influencers and bring about social change in their families, communities, and the world at large.
Help children in need be ready for school, and for life, by donating to Sesame Workshop India here.