CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Think you know about money? Think again!

HONG KONG (SE): Asking if you understand what money is would seem to be a pretty silly question to most people. It probably sounds even more absurd to migrant workers, who have specifically sought out employment overseas in order the address the financial difficulties of their families back home.
However, the graduation from an introductory course on financial literacy run by CARD-OFW Hong Kong at the Duke of Windsor Social Services Building in Wanchai on April 30, saw over 100 migrant workers rejoice at the new insights they have gleaned into this extremely basic commodity—money.
Most admitted that the only thing that they really knew previously was that it did not matter how much you earn, it is never enough. But just as with reading, which is not just about understanding individual words but understanding them in a context, they discovered money is much the same.
There are choices to be made about what to read and the question, “Will it give real or fake news, or reflect the truth?” is important in really trying to understand the world we are living in.
Similarly, there are choices to be made in spending money and a little bit of financial literacy can make a huge difference in whether it is used constructively or basically wasted.
One of the founding lights of CARD-OFW in Hong Kong, Edna Aquino, draws a close parallel between the two. Aquino believes that being able to read and write is a human right and that literacy in financial matters is one too.
She says that literacy in both areas is essential to being able to prosper in this world.
The joy and excitement in the auditorium at the graduation ceremony was palpable, as the faces of the newly graduated, who ranged in age from their 20s to the twilight years of their working lives, beamed joy and excitement as they received their certificates from the consul general, Bernardita Catalla, and deputy consul general, Deric Atienza.
However, life with CARD does not stop there.
The Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development is much more than a short workshop that gives a bit of knowledge, as newly graduated Margarita Paclibar, Genalyn Silvano, Selly Bitun and Angelita Baroro testified.
Graduation in a real sense introduces people to a new family that can stay with them for the rest of their lives, even after a return to The Philippines.
As the biggest micro-credit non-government organisation in the country it can offer a wide range of services to its members from insurance to small business advice, loans, planned saving initiatives and programmes for children to finish their studies, just to name a few.
With offices all over the country it visits the families of people in Hong Kong to help them understand what their relative has been learning, as an essential part of financial literacy is an understanding among the whole family.
But CARD also becomes a family with much to offer over and above technical knowledge. It introduces you to a community, because in the long run, using money well is about discipline and community support.
But the other sign of great progress at the graduation day was the introduction of 11 new workshop trainers. All are graduates of the basic financial literacy course and all are migrant workers. They will strengthen the already experienced team that conducts the workshop days.
Each one has spent one full year in training, during which time they have developed their own teaching modules and presented supervised sessions to live gatherings.
The great strength of this course is that it is taught by migrant workers to migrant workers—people with a deep understanding of the life, because it is their life as well.
If you want a fun day where you will learn a lot, the next seminar being offered by CARD is on June 25. It is free and you will have an enjoyable day. After that there is plenty more. You can’t lose!

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