Meet Elijah, inspiring young saver for this month!
A great start for another month, Global Givers! How well have you been?
Today, we have another great story from one of our savers in the Philippines. His name is Elijah, and he came from a small town called Pinamungajan in Cebu, which is also known as the Queen City of the South. He is currently a Grade 5 student who, like any other kids in the Philippines, became hooked on video games in this day and age of developing technology. Elijah have his own unique story of transformation to tell, shall we start?
Having been born in a middle class family living in the province, Elijah's parents strived hard to send him to a good school and to create a bright future for him and his siblings. But because of the nature of their work, both of his mother and father has not been always at home. And to compensate for their busy schedule, Elijah's parents oftentimes just gave him money and give in to his purposeless requests. His parents meant well but this only contributed to Elijah's carelessness with his money.
"My parents were all busy on their work so I was hooked up with computer games, playing rubber bands, and stickers. I bought everything and anything that I want, mostly junk foods, and then I give it to my friends. I was generous to them because I enjoyed their company. Since my parents were all busy, I felt like they don’t have time for me”, Elijah stated.
It was three years ago, on the year 2016, when our local cooperative partner, Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative started reaching out to Tajao Central Elementary School, Elijah’s school. When his parents knew about Aflatoun, they enthusiastically let Elijah join our social and financial education program with the hope that he will learn the importance of money. That time, Elijah only saved money because his mother told him so and not because he willingly wanted to.
One afternoon after class, Elijah hasn’t come home yet. Her mother got really worried and shortly discovered him intensely playing computer games and even paying for his friends at a computer shop near his school. Her mother got even more disheartened when she learned that this happened several times already and that Elijah had very little sense of the value of money. Yet, instead of reprimanding Elijah, her mother decided to enlighten and encouraged him to save. Elijah recalled, “She [my mother] told me that I should stop playing computer games because it is not good for my body and for my studies. It is just a waste of money. She encouraged me to save the money that I received from them and from my grandparents. She helped me realized that not all the time they are always there to give me money or even have money to give.”
Elijah’s parents didn’t want them to experience the hardships they’ve undergone just to finish college during their years and worked so hard to be able to provide their daily needs. They also apologized to Elijah for those times they were not around because of their work and he felt that they didn’t care.
“As I look at my mother, I knew what she’s doing is very difficult and hard because she is a working mom. So from then on, I gradually realized the importance of savings for my future. I know there are lots of computer shops, there are many foods that could make me happy but I’ve learned to control myself and the value of hard-earned money. This event has taught me self-discipline and how to prioritize needs over wants.”
Elijah, with the support coming from his parents, decided to join taekwondo training that diverted his interest from playing video games and helped him physically, emotionally and mentally. He also sold his online game account and rubber bands and saved all of its earning to his Aflatoun savings account. He put off that quick blip of happiness to create something greater in the long run, like the ant who saved up for the rainy days.
Now, Elijah has been a consistent Aflatoun Child of Year awardee for 3 years straight! Truly inspiring! Her parents, friends, and mentors are more proud of him than ever because he is now saving more and spending less, inspired to think about his future. He learned that the simple practice of setting aside any amount of money, no matter how small, has the potential to enrich lives in ways many of us would not have expected. And this makes us proud, too! Way to go, Elijah!
Elijah with his classmates and advisers
Elijah is a consistent Savers awardee (from 2016)
Elijah: Child of the Year 2019 and Keynote Speaker