In 2015, Emirates Foundation launched the first financial literacy Youth Club in the UAE. Launched as part of the Foundation’s financial literacy initiative, Esref Sah, The Esref Sah Shabaab Club has successfully equipped 100 UAE youth with the skills and knowledge required to educate others about financial literacy. Particularly since the financial crisis, the hazards of low financial literacy levels has prompted us to design a peer mentoring approach to effectively utilize youth to spread awareness around debt and spread key messages of financial empowerment. Our members have been carefully selected and trained in order to run finance workshops and educational events across the country, annually educating thousands of youth in workplaces, schools and universities across the UAE. Our members, like Onoud Al Marzooqi and Sara Abdulrahman, whose story we have shared below, have greatly assisted in shaping the economic potential of youth within the UAE.
At Emirates Foundation, we recognize this need and wish to spark a movement
Onoud and Sara joined our Shabaab Club in 2016 because they wanted to increase financial knowledge amongst youth in order to help them achieve their financial objectives and financial security. They both had a strong desire to use their knowledge and skills to effectively guide and mentor other youth within their organization and in the broader community in general. During their training, they understood how to analyze their spending habits in order to control their finances and understand the importance of key financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, borrowing and investing.
They are now saving up for their long term financial goals and using their financial knowledge to help them in their journey. This year, Onoud and Sara decided to share this knowledge with their colleagues by starting a financial literacy program at their organization, Emirates Global Aluminum. EGA is a semi government organization with a large number of Emirati employees and Onoud and Sara used this platform as an opportunity to approach the director of their training department. Once they explained the Esref Sah program and its key message, Onoud and Sara presented the workshop in front of the training department in order to get their approval. They were required to go through an in-house train the trainer course after which they were given approval to begin delivering the sessions to new joiners and fresh graduates.
They realized that educating these employees at this stage would ensure that they did not make any unwise financial decisions early on in their careers. These youth could then become financially independent sooner and achieve their financial goals earlier than those who had learnt these principles and tools later on in their careers. Onoud and Sara also wish they had learnt these things earlier on in their careers and want to make sure that their colleagues are able to effectively start managing their money from today! Onoud and Sara plan to continue giving the training in 2018 to reach out to all the EGA employees, new joiners as well as older employees.