Saving for a Brighter Future
- By The Global Fund for Children on May 21st, 2014
- Category: Featured, Latin America and the Caribbean, Success Stories
Grantee Partner: Desarrollo Autogestionario Asociación Civil (AUGE)
Location: Veracruz, Mexico
This is Karla (right) and her friend Alondra. Both ten years old, they live in Veracruz, a beautiful coffee-growing region on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
Unfortunately, coffee prices have fluctuated over the years, and the community has struggled with some of the consequences, including high unemployment and family instability—as well as an increasing number of children who work to help support their families instead of going to school.
But thanks to a GFC grantee, children in Veracruz are literally saving their futures. Karla is the treasurer for a children’s savings club sponsored by GFC grantee Desarrollo Autogestionario Asociación Civil (AUGE).
It’s a Mexican tradition for children to receive a Sunday allowance, and each week the 35 children in Karla’s club meet to count and set aside part of their money. As a peer-elected board member, Karla works with the club members to help them decide how they can best use their funds at the end of every saving cycle.
Club participants learn self-discipline and planning for the future, as well as financial management concepts and interpersonal skills. AUGE’s savings clubs have 746 participants and have collectively saved over $54,000 since 2001.
But the meetings aren’t all about business. AUGE’s youth facilitators also provide a safe environment in which to play games, eat nutritious snacks, and participate in other activities. The children organize workshops, theater performances, and radio shows on topics that matter to them, such as family relationships, violence prevention, and the environment.
When he was a teenager, Rafael worked for AUGE as a youth leader. When it was time for him to go to college, AUGE supported him with a scholarship in exchange for continuing his work with the organization. In addition to leading savings clubs and computer classes, Rafael, now 25, carries out educational outreach activities in schools with limited resources.
“In the school that I graduated from, one of our contributions has been to reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy and school dropout rates. Students are now going to university and have a clear idea of what they want to do with their future,” he says.
“I feel blessed to do this every day.”