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How Mahesha supported her family during lockdown using financial education

October 20, 2020

Skill building Sri Lanka

How Mahesha supported her family during lockdown using financial education

In recent weeks more children have begun returning to school after long-periods away from the classroom due to COVID-19 restrictions.  Yet today, around half a billion children still face restrictions to accessing education, and the impacts of these school closures on low-income communities has major consequences.  

Mahesha’s challenges during school closures have been mirrored by girls around the world. Mahesha is 14-year old girl living in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, and is enrolled in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program.  

The community is predominately an agriculturally based area where wages are low. Her father is also a paddy farmer and when the pandemic began, he lost a considerable portion of his income. For families in low-income communities, any cut in daily wages has a considerable impact on living standards, and for Mahesha’s family, food almost became unaffordable.  

Thankfully, Mahesha used the financial skills she had acquired from Credit Suisse's Financial Education for Girls curriculum.  She begun by assessing the family’s budget and expenditure, helping them make savings in non-essential goods as well as their electricity and water bills. To make use of their family’s time during the lockdown, she then begun to plant vegetables in their garden to further cut food expenses.

“I learnt all this from the classes. Otherwise, I would not think about how to cut down on expenses, in order to save”, Mahesha told her Room to Read social mobilizer, who has been mentoring her throughout the lockdown to check-up on her wellbeing during school closures.  

Mahesha has shown how financial education empowers girls, especially during times of crisis.  She has helped support her family through an unprecedent moment and allowed them to live better lives through her skills.  When Mahesha returns to school, she will begin peer mentoring younger girls in the program, passing on learnings from her experiences. 

The Financial Education for Girls program is delivered in partnership with Credit Suisse, Plan International and Alflatoun International. The program has supported over 125,000 girls across 1,500 schools with financial skills schools since 2014