Enabling school students with financial literacy

Dhruv was elected an Ashoka Young Changemaker from India in May 2022. This story was written through a consultative process during their selection to our global community.

It was during the pandemic that Dhruv encountered news articles and stories of migrant labourers, daily wage earners, and others who are struggling with poverty. The horrifying adversity compelled him to look into this issue. Upon researching, he found similar stories - of people being trapped by loan sharks, people being stuck in jobs that offered little to no upwards social mobility. One of the causes of this disparity, he discovered, was financial illiteracy, which manifested disproportionately in low-income and marginalized communities.

This led him to get together with his batchmates and start his initiative Finance4Future. With a team of 23, it branches off into sections like Tutoring, Logistics, Outreach, Syllabus Design, and Content Creation.  The team at Finance4Future identified eradicating financial illiteracy at the root level to be most effective. This enabled them to work directly with students in schools. They then detected financial concepts most needed for handling personal finances and developed attractive presentations with interactive quizzes and activities so that the students can have a quick introduction and further apply these concepts in real-world situations. Some of the activities they conduct include the use of fun Google Form quizzes, discussing topics and projects that give the students the spotlight to explain their ideas and what they learnt from the course.

The results have been rewarding. They’ve successfully impacted over 270+ students in Chennai. These are students in government schools from grades 7th to 11th. The students have been able to grasp the necessary concepts of personal finance as prescribed by the National Strategy for Financial Education (NSFE), which includes everything from the principles of saving and budgeting, financial safety, digital payment systems and loan terms to spotting financial exploitations. They’re also running a pilot class with a partner organisation in Punjab to replicate this impact.

Dhruv understands the importance of a strong team committed to work towards a single goal. He said that him and his team have always, and will always continue to work as a decentralized organization where major actions take place through consensus. He adds, “so it wouldn’t be wrong to say that we’ve been guiding each other all this while”.

Reflecting on his journey of leading Future4Finance, he acknowledges that like any other initiative, Future4Finance too has faced its fair share of problems. The key here is to have an open and honest conversation with the entire team. It is also important to have a second perspective before making decisions that might have a wide impact. Leading an initiative, he said, “has helped me cope with problems and be better prepared for them as I now see them as necessary barriers for growth.”

Over the next few years, he wants to see their curriculum being taught to 10,000+ students from different schools in India and beyond. He also wants the team at Future4Finance to expand to at least 200-300 members in order to help a larger number of students. He would like to see more students engage with and complete the personal finance and entrepreneurship classes and host more activities and events wherein they can showcase the practical uses and importance of financial concepts. 

This story was written by Prachi Vats.