ABU DHABI // A campaign in the Philippines to teach migrants how to better manage their money has reached more than 1,000 Filipinos and their families in the UAE since 2011.
"We aim to cover more Filipinos in this country," said Grace Princesa, the Philippines ambassador to the UAE, who initiated the financial literacy programme before passing it to the Government to administer.
The Ministry of Labour has been supportive of financial education for migrants. It ran a "training of trainers" event in Dubai in January 2011 for migrants from the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Atikha, a non-government organisation that provides economic and social services to overseas workers and their families in the Philippines, developed a training module applicable to all nationalities.
Of the more than 600,000 Filipinos who live and work in the UAE, 1,016 have attended 30 financial literacy workshops, seminars and "training of trainers" events.
"The programme will help ease their reintegration in the Philippines and become growth drivers of our country," Ms Princesa said.
Topics include the basic concepts of saving, investing and borrowing, and various means of investing.
"We continue to hold the seminars and workshops every third Friday of the month in Abu Dhabi, while there are separate sessions organised in Dubai," Ms Princesa said.
One of the trainers, Bal Junio, 44, a finance and administration manager in Abu Dhabi, said there was a growing awareness among Filipinos of the need to manage their hard-earned money.
He was a participant in the training of trainers event in 2011 and has since trained compatriots on the basic concepts of saving, investing, borrowing and investments.
"Many now recognise the ideal approach, which is to save before you spend, recognise your needs versus your wants, write your budget and stick to your financial plan," he said.
"They would like to learn more about stocks, mutual funds and managing a business so we're now developing a three-level programme."
The first level will include a seven-hour seminar on saving, budgeting, borrowing, getting out of debt, and the "dreams and despairs of overseas Filipino workers".
In August, participants can attend a five or six-hour discussion on the various investment instruments, which will be the second level. The third level, a five-hour seminar and workshop on starting and managing a business, will be offered in November.
The UAE was chosen as the pilot country of Atikha's Pinoy Wise Movement due to the large number of Filipinos and the support of the Government. It was officially launched in November.
"The UAE has been very supportive of this initiative which is in line with the Aquino government's reintegration programme," Ms Princesa said. "Jobs generated can offer a choice for female migrant workers, especially the household service workers. Migration then becomes a choice rather than a necessity."