Chanvicheka Sek or Vicheka as her friends know her is a ten years old girl living in the Svay Rieng Province of Cambodia. She wants to be a doctor in the future and is very serious about her education thanks to Cufa’s Children’s Financial Literacy program. Nowadays, she lives with her grandparents and brother while her parents work in Phnom Penh. Her father works as a Tuk Tuk driver and her mother works in a garment factory. Her father comes home during the harvesting season for their family’s farming activities, but her mother only comes back during special occasions such Khmer New Year.
Vicheka is lucky enough to get a small amount of pocket money daily from her grandmother which she often used to spend on candy, toys, food or other things. She did not know how difficult it was for her grandmother to earn that money that was given. Both Vicheka and her grandparents depend on the money that her parents earn in Phnom Penh.
Before attending the Children’s Financial Literacy program, Vicheka did not know about developing savings habits and her grandmother would always tell her, “I don’t have much money, so I give her around 500 or 1000 riel ($0.18-0.35) per day,” she said. “I am 69 now and can’t work, we depend on Vicheka’s parents who regularly transfer money for us,” she continued. When Vicheka gets money for school she spends all of it because she views it as such a small amount of money and some of her friends spend much more than her so she never bothered saving it.
A few years ago, Vicheka received financial literacy training from Cufa through her schooling. After attending the program, she started saving some of her money in a piggy bank and told her grandparents, “It is important to save some of our money so we can use it in case of an emergency.” After this, Vicheka also went to open a savings account with her local community-owned bank. Her grandfather, who already had an account, was more than happy to help her.
Now Vicheka manages to save around 5,000 riel ($1.75) each month and all up has around 90,000 riel ($31.65) saved. Every day after school she helps her grandmother to wash dishes and clothes. She works hard with her study. She spends her free time reading books. She would like to finish high school and become a doctor and she hopes her savings could help her achieve her goal.