Because Ngern Tid Lor wants Thai people to be able to access transparent and fair financial services and stay away from informal debt, we not only provide loans to keep life rolling forward but also have initiated a financial literacy project in hopes making a small contribution to helping Thai people improve their financial health and quality of life. Since its initiation, the project has gradually grown and provided financial knowledge opportunities to many communities in society.
In 2013, Ngern Tid Lor initiated a training program to provide financial literacy to wet market vendors. Our team conducted field work to collect and analyze data to develop six training courses, including:
- Things You Should Know before Borrowing
- How to Survive Loan Interest
- Saving Money to Earn More Money
- Smart Spending
- Boosting Profit through Cost Management
- Cash Flow
These courses were intended to teach “Wet Market Loan” customers to manage household income and expenses for maximum benefit. The success of this project can be measured by the fact that certain vendors were able to pay off their debts and build a more stable life.
In 2015, the “Financial Knowledge to Communities for Life Rolls Forward” project was born. This project expanded the scope of financial education into communities in other provinces across the country, allowing Ngern Tid Lor’s employees to nominate communities or villages for training and volunteer for training activities.
With our intent and commitment to bringing financial knowledge to communities, in 2018, we collaborated in the “Kamlangjai Project under the Royal Initiative of HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha” to develop and provide financial courses for prisoners in order to prepare them for life and career opportunities after prison.
As this collaboration was a part of the “Financial Knowledge to Communities for Life Rolls Forward” project, it was organized in a similar manner. Our team first conducted a survey of the problems and needs of prisoners and then used the survey results to develop activity-based courses that were both engaging and easy to understand.
The courses we developed for prisoners focused on financial knowledge for career development under the sufficiency economy principles. They cover things important for starting a career. For example, if you want to sell sandwiches, what ingredients do you need and how and where to sell them? They also teach prisoners how to calculate costs, increase sales and product value added, and make business plans.
The financial courses for career development need to be further adjusted and improved for different prisons, which is a learning and development process for both Ngern Tid Lor and the Kamlangjai project. The most important thing, however, is the prisoners who are about to get a second chance in life.
To date, we have over 800 Ngern Tid Lor volunteers and have provided financial literacy to 47 communities and 2,282 participants across the country. We have also organized vocational training to provide financial knowledge to 569 prisoners from six prisons.
In addition, Ngern Tid Lor employees also benefited from the knowledge and experience gained from volunteering for the project. As our employees participate in activities with communities, they will better understand the needs of different communities while improving their knowledge of financial management.
Our financial literacy project will continue to grow, just like connecting a jigsaw puzzle one piece at a time, to create a complete image of stronger and more sustainable financial health for the Thai people.