In 2010 we began a program to provide financial education to workers in India. In addition, we have helped hundreds of workers open bank accounts for the first time.
Many workers in India do not have bank accounts and over 80% have never received any financial education. This can leave workers vulnerable when it comes to budgeting expenses and saving their money. Many turn to moneylenders, which can expose workers to more risk. Women are particularly vulnerable, as traditionally they have not been in charge of household finances and often lack financial awareness.
Our program with our local partner Geosansar has provided workers with easy-to-open bank accounts since 2010. Geosansar bank kiosks are located near factories or in worker communities. Accounts can be opened using biometric finger scans, which is useful for workers who may not be able to read or write. Rather than receiving their salary in cash, which can be unsafe, workers have their salary paid directly into their bank accounts.
In 2012, we launched a new initiative with BSR to provide financial education. The HERfinance program works by selecting a group of workers from each factory, who are trained by local partners as coaches. The coaches are then responsible for training the other workers in the factory, and for providing support and advice. The program includes training on basic numeracy, creating a household budget, saving money, and how to borrow responsibly.
Our program in India has helped workers in factories producing for Primark open bank accounts. Our film explores the program in action and how it is helping workers manage their money more effectively.
I have worked in the factory for the last nine years and am 54 years old. In most factories, you don't get to learn about things like this, so I want to thank Primark for taking this initiative. I have two daughters, both of marriageable age, and it's very important to teach them that they can spend, but not waste. And to save money as you don't know when you may need it!
I've really enjoyed being a coach – initially I thought people would laugh and not take me seriously. But they do listen to what I say. I also discuss things with my friends, and whereas before it was just a casual chat about finances, now it's about finding solutions to money issues, and this is because of what I've learned in the program.
Through the program I've been learning about how and why we should save money, such as being able to manage better when you have any emergencies. I also know now that it's better to save money in a bank as you can earn interest on your money.
I've learned about managing my finances by keeping a diary of my daily expenses. It gives me an insight into my saving habits, and tells me whether I've wasted any money or could have saved more.
My name is Gudiya I am a tailor in the stitching section. I am 29 years old. I like the financial education program – we speak to each other and learn from each other, and the trainers tell us stories to help us understand the issues. Right now I am saving for my child's education, and I've opened a bank account to help me to do this.
Previously, my mother-in-law managed my salary and just gave me a small amount for my expenses, and I saved money out of that. My husband does not share my views on savings and managing money. But I have spoken to friends and given them tips, such as keeping a diary of their spending.