Choki Wangmo | Tsirang
With the exception of occasions like her birthday, when she received a little extra, 18-year-old Tirtha Kumari Tiwari couldn’t save even a dime on her monthly spending money of around 3000 NU. However, the student at Damphu Central School said she would now save some of her pocket money.
Forty students from the school, including Tirtha Kumari, recently participated in a three-day financial literacy training program in Tsirang, which ended on October 22.
She said her parents had saved money in small amounts in a kantur (piggy bank) during his childhood. “I was told to save some of my pocket money when I was a kid, but I never got to. As you grow older, it becomes more difficult to save money.
After completing the training, she feels that she is now financially literate.
“Children should spend wisely so that some of the money is saved for the future,” she said.
Like Tirtha Kumari, many Bhutanese lack financial literacy and have not cultivated the habit of saving, observers say. However, the trend could change, especially among young people.
At Rangthangling Primary School in Tsirang, where Bhutan celebrated its first savings day last year, children started saving small amounts.
A teacher said some of the students who took part-time jobs as carpenters and laborers over the holidays saved their wages.
As part of World Savings Month, which ends on October 31, the Bhutan Rural Development Project (PRuDent) is organizing a “savings game training” for more than 600 students in Wangdue, Punakha, Dagana , Tsirang, Mongar, Trongsa, Zhemgang, and Trashigang.
One of the project’s seven trainers, Sonam Choki, said the students were trained in managing family budgets to achieve the best quality of life, taking into account family choices and household economic strength.
“Using ‘event cards’ we create various situations and let the students use their analytical skills to solve them. We also introduce them to resources and concepts such as financial institutions, loans and inflation, ”she said.
She said that Bhutanese have bad savings habits. According to her, the financial literacy gap is larger in the East than in other parts of the country.
The game developed by German Sparkassenstiftung for International Cooperation (DSIK) is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and RENEW-Microfinance.
Through the “Farmers Business Game”, the PRuDent team has trained more than 500 farmers, Desuups and RENEW-Microfinance clients.
On October 22, the team held a piggy bank contest among 37 students in grades PP through III of Rangthangling Primary School to teach children the value of saving.
The twenty best piggy banks were selected, of which the first three won prizes.
The first World Savings Day took place on October 31, 1924.
Edited by Tshering Palden