DUBAI, UAE, April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Western Union Apna Sapna participants reveals their earning, spending and saving habits
Women migrant workers say understanding the basics of money management will not only help them surmount their numerous financial problems, but also help them plan their families' futures and elevate their socio-economic circumstances. In a recent survey conducted by The Western Union Company, 99 out of 100 women said the training provided to them by the Western Union® Apna Sapna financial literacy program gave them adequate impetus to start saving part of their salaries and to make this a habit in order to achieve their dreams.
The women also stressed the pressing need and paramount importance of financial training within their ranks. Pawan Maiyanakarmi, a Nepali office assistant and resident of Dubai for 12 years, said financial literacy has proved more beneficial than literacy. "When I reached the UAE, I could not even speak English. I have faced and overcome a lot of challenges here, but it is only now, after attending the Western Union Apna Sapna program, that I have finally learnt how to save."
All survey respondents were participants at the Western Union Apna Sapna (meaning Our Dream) financial literacy programme for unskilled workers, offered at workers' accommodations across Dubai. At the free sessions, migrant workers are taught how to balance their income and expenses in a booklet and provided valuable advice on budgeting, spending and saving. The Apna Sapna model involves financial planning through diligent tracking and prudent spending and enables every participant to allocate part of their income as savings. The survey was conducted in the last week of February and participants included Filipino, Kenyan, Indian, Nepali and Sri Lankan women migrant workers.
When questioned before the financial training programme, 66 per cent of respondents admitted they didn't know how to match expense to income, and although 73 per cent realised the importance of an emergency fund, they found the amount they put aside (starting at Dh 100, every month) inadequate when there is a real emergency. Only 51 per cent of respondents said they were able to save some of their income, while 23 per cent claimed to save 10 per cent of their income.
After completing the training though, respondents who were empowered enough to save 15 per cent of their monthly salaries recorded a 400 per cent increase, while those who plan to save at least 10 per cent of their salaries recorded a 50 per cent increase.
Kenyan national Beacollan Morra said the training was an eye opener for her as it helped her distinguish between want and need. "In order to save, I have to assume that 10 per cent of my salary is simply not in my salary." She also stated that after attending the training, she has rarely left home without the Apna Spana tracking booklet: "You have to be true to yourself. It is easier to save if you track your spending."
The great majority of women migrant workers regularly remit money to their families in their home countries. 66 per cent of respondents send money to their mothers, 23 per cent to their fathers and 20 per cent to siblings. Of the money remitted home, 81 per cent said it is used for family maintenance, 38 per cent indicated that their children's education is another financial priority.
The UAE is considered as a stepping stone to their financial stability and prosperity in the future as 78 per cent of respondents expect to earn enough money during their stay here, and then to continue working after they return home. Migrant workers are not short on dreams and ambitions: The great majority at 79 per cent dream of buying a house in their home country, and 13 per cent wish to start a small business, while 47 per cent aim to achieve both goals in the future.
Gris, a 24-year-old Kenyan employed as an aircraft loader, has a slight different dream: "I grew up an orphan, and I simply want to help other orphans in Kenya. With the Apna Sapna training, I will be able to put aside some money every month to help me achieve my goal."
Notes to editor
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of December 31, 2014, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks. In 2014, The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments. For more information, visit http://www.westernunion.com.
Apna Sapna Survey: Highlights
Remittances to home countries
76% very regular in sending money every month
66% send money to their mothers, 23% to fathers, 20% to siblings, and only 5% to spouses
Reasons for remittances
81% send money for family maintenance - regular, recurring expenses for running the home
38% indicated that children's education is the next highest priority
44% manage their money themselves
33% use help from a family member
Savings and dreams
78% have bank accounts either in the UAE or the home country
50% have some kind of long-term investments such as fixed deposits, land or property
79% want to buy a house in their home country, 13% want to start a business, 47% want both a house and a business
Need for financial training
42% not able to save money in the UAE after remitting to home country
73% put aside money for emergencies, but inadequate (starting at Dhs. 100 per month)
66% cannot stay within their monthly budgets
Impact of financial training
Before attending training:
51% said they are able to save
23% claimed to save 10% of their income
After attending training:
99% said they would start saving
50% increase in those who would save at least 10% of monthly salary
400% increase in those who would save at least 15% of monthly salary
SOURCE Western Union