Throughout the 17 years of working with youths and indirectly with their families, it has been obvious that the poverty cycle is a vicious cycle, where debts of the parents are passed on to their children, either through extreme poverty or financial ignorance and lack of self-discipline. The Foundation for Life's philosophy to "Teach a Child How to Fish" rather than just to give them a fish everyday, is the reason why the Organization persists on training our young generation with skills, a mindset of integrity and tenacity, together with self-discipline, so that they may be able to overcome the difficult times in their lives and to eventually be of assistance to others in their families and communities. For the past 12 years, many small scale projects was conducted so as to help instill financial education for both children and adults. An evolving curriculum on Financial Intelligence was written and re-adjusted over the years, so as to fit the local Thai needs. As a result, the S.M.A.R.T. (Stewardship of Money and Responsibility towards Treasures) Scheme was launched in 2009, as a pilot project for the children and youths. The S.M.A.R.T. Scheme was introduced in various camps that was conducted and about 900 children and youths went through this program.The young people were encouraged to begin a life of savings for the future and for what they wanted instead of just asking from parents or borrowing to buy what they want. In order for them to understand the principles taught, role-play was employed as a means to educate them and it was well received as a number of them began to use what was taught in their daily lives. The S.M.A.R.T. Scheme also taught them to give to others and this has borne good results as can be seen by Nok, our adult volunteer who said, " Of late, a number of kids who is using the S.M.A.R.T. Scheme, has come to me and donated on a regular basis, so that the funds can be used to help run activities for children and youths! This is amazing as it has never happened like this before in my 20 years as a youth worker!" The Foundation is grateful to all donors and supporters for their generous giving, that has empowered Thai kids with tools to overcome various obstacles in their lives. Any feedback, response and advice that will enhance our outreach to youths, is most welcome!
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