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Financial literacy course welcomed at parishes

HONG KONG (Mabuhay) : More than 20 people from St. Anne’s parish in Stanley were presented with graduation certificates after completing a financial literary course conducted by the Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) OFW Foundation (Hong Kong) on August 30.

The certificates were presented to the graduates by the parish priest, Father John McAuley.

He said that he gives his wholehearted support to the initiative of the group. “By having financial literacy, they become more confident, more able to help their family and clear personal debts,” he explained.

Father McAuley added that he likes the idea of encouraging suitable graduates to become trainors later so that migrant workers are being led in their learning by other migrant workers.

He also believes that it is important to work with foreign domestic workers to help them gain the tools to help themselves.

He promised that the parish will do whatever it can in organising more financial literacy courses among the migrant workers who attend the church.

Jam General, a member of the choir who graduated from the basic module course, said she found learning a way to set a financial goal within a time limit helpful, as well as debt management and the principles involved in taking out a loan.

“It is a big help for us overseas workers since we do not know our future. Many of us have been here for a long time. It gives us the hope that we can go home for good if we know how to plan ahead,” General reflected.

She said that the most important thing she learned from the course is the equation governing the amount you can spend each month—it is what is left after you have put away your savings.

“Saving should be given the priority. It is by no means what is left over after deducting all the expenses from the salary,” she pointed out. She believes with this principle in mind, saving is not so hard.

General said she has been in Hong Kong for 18 years and she will be interested to learn how to start a business when the group puts on the next module, so as to plan what to do after she returns home for good someday.

The two-day course was held on March 1 and 29 this year. 

A make-up class was also held for six of the participants who were  not free on the scheduled day to take part in the second session.

Vicky Munar, a trainor and coordinator in CARD OFW, said the group is trying to expand its service to more parishes in Hong Kong.

She explained that the two basic modules have already been conducted at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Tai Po over two Saturdays in July and two Sundays in November last year.

The response from the over 70 participants in this first parish outreach was so good that they were looking forward to having more sessions.

The group has begun a course at the Holy Spirit Mass Centre in Homantin and it has also approached St. Jude’s in North Point and St. Joseph’s in Central to look into the possibility of organising financial literacy courses in the two parishes.

 

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