FLC is Financial Literacy Campaign through which, we aim towards financial inclusion of the economically weaker sections of society residing in the slums of Kirti Nagar, Delhi by motivating and encouraging them to open and operate their bank accounts.
After throwing some light on the basic question of what it is, the next query that comes in mind is why take up this initiative when hundreds of other social issues are waiting to be addressed. Well, the answer is pretty simple. The basic necessity of life today is 'Money' and lack of financial literacy is the root cause which forces poor to stay and suffer in poverty. Therefore if we want their financial status to improve, they must be educated and motivated to use the banking services and develop in them the habit of saving.
Since now we know the answer to what and why, you might be curious to know how we are trying to do this task. Since the beginning of the year 2015, Smilyo volunteers are trying hard to spread this message with great vigour amongst the underprivileged inhabitants of a slum in Delhi. Smilyons hope to work to their utmost capabilities to put forth a Financial Literacy Campaign for the slum-dwellers of Kirti Nagar.
This campaign was slated to run on the lines of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana scheme which is a mega financial inclusion plan initiated by the Central Government to bring poor financially excluded people into the banking system by providing them bank accounts and debit cards. Under the yojana, bank accounts and RuPay debit cards with inbuilt insurance cover of 1 Lakh rupees will be provided to crores of persons with no access to formal banking facilities.
Similarly, our campaign’s main aim was to spread awareness about financial competence and its importance amongst our underprivileged brethren. Thismonth long campaign involved the Smilyo volunteers visiting a slum wherein they engaged with its inhabitants through a play as well as informal talk sessions thereby advocating the need to be financially literate.Charged with change-induced vigour, as our Smilyo volunteers ventured into the streets of the Kirtinagar slum area, they sought to venture into the minds of the slum-dwellers and replace the narrow alleys of financial illiteracy and negligence in their minds by bridges of financial enlightenment and competence. As a part of our Financial Literacy Campaign, Smilyo volunteers interacted with the slum dwellers, acquainted them with the rights and benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, propagated the importance of opening and maintaining bank accounts as well as disseminated information about zero balance accounts, RuPay debit cards, passbooks etc.
The campaign was conducted in a series of sessions. The first session was marked by a talk with the slum-dwellers where basic information regarding opening and managing bank accounts, knowhow of depositing and saving money was disseminated. The need and importance of having a bank account and inter-related tools like passbook, cheque book and debit card was stressed upon tremendously as these are the essential pre-requisites which a person needs to possess in order to be financially sound. In the next session, knowledge retained by the people would be put to test through elementary questions asked in a relatable and creative manner which was followed by tracking those enlightened people who have in fact opened a bank account and now possess cheque book, passbook and debit card. These people will be rewarded clothes collected through a donation drive undertaken by Smilyo. A subsequent step would be to encourage the people to deposit money in their accounts.
Although a feeling of insecurity was evident from the reactions of the people, a glimmer of hope shone through their high degree of receptivity. They were eager to gain the information being disseminated to them and did not hesitate to ask queries about issues concerning them. Thus, the survey was a valuable learning experience for the slum dwellers and our volunteers alike. At the same time, our volunteers were able to come to terms with the ground realities through their interactions with the people which forced them to articulate their thoughts into future course of action.
In lieu of this, Smilyo invited all individuals who have irrevocable faith in the spirit of humanity to come be a part of the change by lending their support to our financial literacy campaign and actively participating in it .