After being selected to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in 2015, 2010 LEADer Dipeeka is running a Financial Literacy Curriculum at Paropkar School to teach young students the importance of savings and accounting in everyday life.
Unlike most of her fellow classmates, Dipeeka (2010 LEADer), a fourth-year student at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, is spending her winter break doing some work. After being selected to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in 2015, Dipeeka is using her time off from school to teach eighth and ninth grade students in Kathmandu about financial literacy.
Dipeeka’s project—Artha: Finance for Young Minds—is a financial education program for low income and underprivileged youth. “Students in private school have more facilities and resources than government students usually do,” Dipeeka explains, “but students from government schools tend to be financially weaker than those who attend private schools. So this project is for them.”
The week-long workshop also teaches students the real-life application of their school’s accounting lessons.
“In school, we learn about investment, interest rate, and time value, but we don’t know how to apply it to our lives on a daily basis,” says Dipeeka. “But we have less of an idea about how these things are related with our coursework because in real life we don’t set columns or do maths like we do in school.”
Artha intervenes at a critical time in a student’s life. Dipeeka chose to work with students in eighth and ninth grade because of the pressures that come afterwards for them. Once students reach tenth grade, they become concentrated on studying for and receiving their School Leaving Certificate (SLC), the national exam all Nepali students must pass in order to continue their higher education. After students receive their SLC, however, “students start being more serious about their career,” which makes these skills much more relevant for them.
The inspiration for this project comes from a demographic survey Dipeeka helped conduct during her time as an intern at Women LEAD. After reading the survey results, Dipeeka saw the stark difference in skills students learned in government schools and private schools.
There is another Women LEAD connection as well. As a intern, Dipeeka conducted several session on reproductive health on different schools through the School Leadership Program (SLP). Artha is currently run at Paropakar, one of the schools involved in the program that year. Her familiarity with the school’s resources and curriculum allowed her to tailor the Artha curriculum to Paropakar’s individual needs.
As for the future of the program, Dipeeka will wait and see what the outcomes are of her pilot project before deciding what will be next. Regardless of the program outcomes, however, Dipeeka hopes all students—regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds—can have access to the skills and resources they need to be financially sound.
“Financial literacy is not just for rich people. At every age, an individual should have knowledge about savings and why it’s important.”