Financial education for handicapped children in Kenya thanks to joint venture Rabobank, Aflatoun and Lilianefonds

More than 40 million handicapped children live in the poorest regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Handicaps and poverty aggravate one another due to the costs of medical care and the fact that parents having to care for their children can no longer go out to work and generate an income. As a result handicapped children and young people are often trapped in a vicious downward spiral. But with the tailormade child-friendly learning methods developed by Aflatoun – that can also be deployed outside the formal education system – even this vulnerable group can learn essential social and economic skills through play that will serve them and those around them well for the rest of their lives.

Aflatoun’s educational programme combines social and financial learning aimed at inspiring children to develop social and economic skills. Rabobank Foundation was one of Aflatoun’s earliest partners. “Through Rabobank Foundation we have become involved in a savings and loan cooperative in Kenya,” says Rico Niesten, board chairman at Rabobank ‘s-Hertogenbosch en Omstreken. “As a local bank we saw opportunities for helping handicapped children in Kenya because we’re also a local partner of the Liliane Fund. That’s why we brought the three parties – Rabobank Foundation, Aflatoun and the Liliane Fund – into contact with one another.”

Learning through play about saving and entrepreneurship

Aflatoun is responsible for the organisation of the social and financial education programme. Since its inception, Aflatoun Child Social & Financial Education now reaches out to some three million children in more than 100 countries all over the world. “The children learn in a playful way about financial affairs such as saving and running a business,” explains Aflatoun’s director Anjali Sakhuja. “They learn how to work together and how to make joint decisions, for example on what materials or equipment to buy. This approach boosts their self-confidence and at the same time they’re learning about financial matters, entrepreneurship and the world around them. A welcome side-effect is that their parents start to realise the importance of schooling and education.” After an initial introduction, local teachers incorporate the programme in their regular curriculum. “And that’s a good thing,” says Rico Niesten. “Because finances is a theme that tends to receive scant attention in child and teenage education, while you can actually use it to inspire children to make something of themselves. Aflatoun’s programme teaches them essential skills that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. And that has an enormous effect, not only on their own lives but also on the lives of their parents and their community.”

Aflatoun has developed a tailor-made programme of lessons to meet the needs of children with an impairment. Partner organisations of the Liliane Fund will start using the specially adapted materials in Kenya this summer.


Rabobank Foundation

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