Saturday, May 11, 2013

WIMLER HK Launches Financial Literacy Awareness Day

WIMLER Foundation Hong Kong in cooperation with Enrich, CARD-MRI, Helpers for Domestic Helpers (HDH), SEDPI, Leadership and Social Enterprise (LSE) 12 graduates, and participants of LSE 15 and LSE 16 is organizing a Financial Literacy Awareness Day on Sunday, May 19 at Chater Road. The event is one of the activities during ALAY: A Festival for the Filipino Community, which WIMLER HK is organizing with support from CSL, Ayala Corporation, Ayala Land, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Globe.

Remittances is the most widespread and important migrant economic activity and indeed offers the dual function of livelihood survival and (possible) asset building. In spite of this huge remittance flows, it cannot be assumed that by working abroad, migrants are able to secure their financial future. In many cases, by sending remittances regularly and only for as long as they continue working abroad, migrant workers are only able to provide the basic needs of their families. This impacts their plans for return and reintegration.

By organizing the Financial Literacy Awareness Day, it is hoped that greater awareness among the Filipino migrant domestic workers on the importance of financial literacy can be generated. Information materials are available in various booths. Enrich, CARD-MRI, and HDH will inform the visitors about their various products and services as well as schedules of their training and will provide on-the-spot counseling in an interactive manner. The LSE 12 graduates will display various social enterprise business plans they developed during the course, hopefully, to generate inspiration for others. Some of these business plans are already on the implementation stage.  Meanwhile, LSE participants and graduates will share their experiences after attending financial literacy course and how it motivates them to start planning for their return.

The reactions of Filipino migrant domestic workers who attended financial literacy training in Hong Kong provide various insights. Before the start of the training, many migrant participants said that they have not even considered thinking of what to do when their contract ends nor have they even thought about reintegration. They have very little, if at all any savings, and simply continue working for as long as they can. After the training, however, they become enthusiastic and eager to learn more about personal finance.

There are about 150,000 Filipino migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong who send remittances estimated at US$420 million in 2012. According to the study conducted by WIMLER involving 300 respondents , Filipino migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong send money to their families, as often as, 11 times a year and for as low as HK$500 to as high as HK$5,000 per remittance. Three in every 10 respondents send remittances to their families in the Philippines for more than 10 years already; in effect, six of them have been doing it for more than 20 years.  Remittances, the money sent by migrants regularly to their families back home, can result to increased incomes, improved health and better education, as well as, contribute to economic development.