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Pattaya Daily News

09 August 2008 :: 15:08:11 pm 20649

One Baht a day savings group

World Vision Foundation of Thailand asked Thai people to help seek solutions to social problems in a life development context whereby Thai sponsors reached out to the needy Thai people in the Local Sponsorship project that focuses on child, family and community development under the motto ?Child and Family Well-Being.??
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Phuket: Adults view savings as important and they have tried to impress this on children since ancient times. Soonthornpu, a well-known Thai poet wrote a poem for women on this topic. The next generation of Thai people likes to quote this proverb as reference: ?Coins make whole one Baht. Make sure you have enough money to live on. Live with the little that you have. Don?t overspend as it will lead to troubles.?

The chao Thai mai or chao leh people believe that savings is a way of conforming to the lifestyle of the local people after they have established themselves firmly in the community. They lived a nomadic life on the ocean and caught fish in exchange for rice, clothing and other basic necessities.

Ban Hin Luk Dieu is one of the 5 chao Thai mai communities in Phuket and it is also where chao Thai mai family quality development project operates. A one Baht a day savings group is set up here to help chao Thai mai children to understand the importance of saving money. At the same time, it will help to lighten the parents? burdens.

The housing structure of
Hin Luk Dieu villagers.

The housing structure of
Hin Luk Dieu villagers.

This age group children are also members of
the one Baht a day savings group.

?The villagers here fish for a living with an uncertain income. Some collect chillies and are paid daily. Some days they have money and some days they don?t. Any day that the parents don?t have money, the children don?t go to school,? Mrs. Noklek Suwansiri, 41, a Hin Luk Dieu villager spoke.

The one Baht a day savings group has 44 members, both small and older children. The youngest member is 9 months old and the oldest is 16 years. Every member has the right to borrow 50% of the balance that is deposited without interest on 10, 20 and 30 of the month. ?When I have no money to go to school, I will come and make a withdrawal,? Supatra Lohakun said. (For pre-school children who are still too young, their parents will come and borrow money to help pay for their family expenses.)

A duty roster for the group is planned for every month. Two members are given the task of collecting money at the other members? homes. They will record the amount received and borrowed. ?The children have shown a greater sense of responsibility and discipline. Before they just wanted to play,? Mrs. Noklek or Aunty Noot as the children like to call her, expressed her opinions. Aunty Noot is the group?s caretaker and adviser. The children also help one another to manage the group, think and make some objects for sale to bring income into the group.

This age group children are also members of
the one Baht a day savings group.

This age group children are also members of
the one Baht a day savings group.

The one Baht a day savings group uses the community multi-purpose center to meet for discussions.

?We make clothed bags and plaster animals and sell them during the boat festival. We plan to use the group?s money to buy rice and sell it to the community,? Supatra said.

?It?s a good idea, I think because every household needs to eat rice anyway. It?s a community revolving fund and we need not go buy rice elsewhere,? Aunty Noot added her comments.

The children?s conduct has changed after they joined in the one Baht a day savings group.

?I?ve learned to be frugal in my spending,? Supatra said. Also, the members have benefited from the project especially in borrowing, which led to the adults? savings group having to review their own work. ?I?ve seen how the children?s savings group is doing well. We really need to make some changes in the adults? savings group. The adults? group was set up even before the children?s group. We didn?t have an easy start,? Mrs. Noklek said.

Even though the one Baht a day savings group might seem insignificant, it has paved a great learning for the chao Thai mai children. What is important is that ?The children are going to school more regularly,? Mrs. Noklek said.

One Baht a day savings group – one Baht is worth more than just one Baht

You can contact World Vision Foundation of Thailand via the following address:

World Vision Foundation of Thailand 582/18-22 Sukhumvit 63, Klongton, Wattana Bangkok 10110 Tel. (02)381-8863-5 Fax: (02)711-4100-1,(02)381-2034 E-mail Address: info@worldvision.or.th

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Society

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