In 2010 we began a programme 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 leave workers further at risk. Women are particularly vulnerable as traditionally they have not been in charge of household finances and often lack financial awareness.
Our programme with local partner Geosansar has provided easy to open bank accounts for workers 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 be unable to read or write. Rather than receiving their salary in cash, which can be unsafe, workers receive a salary directly into their bank accounts.
In 2012, we launched a new initiative with BSR to provide financial education. The HERfinance programme 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 providing support and advice. The programme includes training on basic numeracy, saving, creating a household budget, saving money, and how to borrow responsibly.
Our programme in India has helped workers in factories producing for Primark open bank accounts. Our film explores the programme in action and how it is helping workers manage their money more safely.
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 tell them that they can spend, but not waste. And 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 a solution to money issues, and this is because of what I've learnt in the programme.
Through the programme I've been learning about how and why we should save money, such as being able to manage better if 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 learnt about how to manage my finances by keeping a diary of my daily expenses. It gives me an insight into my saving habits, and whether I've wasted any money or could have saved more.
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.
My name is Gudiya I am a tailor in the stitching section I am 29 years old. I like the financial education programme – 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.
Since attending the training, I've told my mother-in-law about what I've learnt, and that's also meant that my husband has taken on board the training, as he listens to her! I've also shared it with my friends, and they've opened bank accounts, and given their children piggy banks to encourage them to save.