18,500 Migrant Workers in the UAE and KSA Benefit From Western Union's Free Financial Training

Jan 31, 2016, 05:44 ET from Western Union

DUBAI, UAE, January 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

 

  • Company launches second phase of 'Apna Sapna'  
  • Promotes personal savings among workers and their families   

The Western Union Company has successfully concluded the first phase of 'Apna Sapna', a financial literacy programme for migrant workers, with 18,500 participants attending free training sessions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The vast majority of participants say the programme has helped them understand and plan their finances better, to achieve long-terms goals.

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Western Union has also announced the launch of a second module of Apna Sapna that focuses on personal savings, with new training sessions held in workers' accommodations in Dubai.

Launched in November 2014, Western Union's Apna Sapna ('Our Dreams' in Hindi and Urdu) is designed specifically to help migrant workers develop the skills to manage their money and plan their future. The sessions are conducted in multiple languages - primarily for unskilled workers in the corporate and retail sectors - and are typically held at labour camps and workers' accommodations on Fridays, or after work hours on weekdays.  

According to Hatem Sleiman, Western Union's Regional Vice President - Middle East, "The Apna Sapna programme builds upon Western Union's long history of commitment and engagement with migrant workers, and echoes the UAE government's directions to focus on their welfare and help them safeguard their future through effective financial literacy."

It is the impact and importance of the programme that has led to its resounding success," he says. "When we launched Apna Sapna, we were hesitant to restrict ourselves with any target numbers, but the results have exceeded everything we expected.

Apna Sapna has not only proven very popular - in the number of participants and venues - but it has made a substantial impact in the lives of so many people."      

Sleiman also explained the new modules of the programme: "The most important factor that has emerged out of the training sessions conducted to date is the need for personal savings. Thereby, the next phase of Apna Sapna highlights this particular aspect of financial literacy."          

Based on interactive feedback, the new sessions instruct participants how and where to save their money, promotes smart money management among their family members, and imparts special training on saving towards setting up a small business.

Participants also receive a free booklet that lists a variety of recognised and legitimate savings schemes in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan at this stage of the programme - with more countries to follow in 2016.

The goal of this phase is to ensure that several thousand workers can upgrade their status from 'survival' to 'stability', Sleiman added.

Sessions of the modules that focus on personal savings were launched in Dubai, and will be rolled out across the rest of the UAE, and KSA in due course.  

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 September 30, 2015, 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.

 

Background Note 

Western Union's Apna Sapna  

Financial literacy programme - UAE and KSA    

Western Union's Apna Sapna is a free financial literacy programme for migrant workers.

Translated as 'Our Dreams' in Hindi and Urdu, Apna Sapna is part of Western Union's community outreach and corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, and draws from their corporate signature: Moving Money for Better

Conducted in 8 languages, the grassroots training programme aims to drive financial awareness, education and adoption where it is most needed. It is versatile enough for every participant to be able to track their expenses and set targets for savings - irrespective of age, ethnicity, employment, or earnings.  

The aim  

Apna Sapna is designed to address the many challenges of migrant workers who are unsure how to achieve their goals, and yet, wish to build secure futures for themselves and their families. By providing them with financial training and tools, participants are enabled to make proactive and timely decisions with a view to improving their lives.

In particular, the programme is designed to help empower women and foster their financial independence in the future. According to a white paper released in the UAE[1], migrant women are more reliable than men at remitting funds to their home countries, they contribute more to building human capital and living expenses, and they are also more likely to be a 'safety net' during financial emergencies. When women provide financial support to others, it is often at the cost of personal sacrifices and compromises.

Apna Sapna gives these women the tools and training to make smart financial decisions - as a means for them and their families to experience a better quality of life in the future.    

The delivery  

Conceptualised and customised by local financial experts, the training model integrates basics of financial planning and tracking, expense management, and prudent spending and saving. In summation, participants are taught how to manage their money better, in order to save some of it.

Training is typically delivered through face-to-face immersive sessions with small groups, and hosted at labour camps or workers' accommodations. Each session is facilitated by two trained independent volunteers, in addition to Western Union staff who assist when needed.

  • At the end of every session, participants are provided with a free annual budget tracker, in a choice of 8 languages.
  • In the savings module, participants are provided with a booklet on savings schemes in their home countries.        

The scope  

The financial literacy programme was launched in November 2014, with the intention of training migrant workers residing in the UAE and KSA.

  • A total of 18,500 men and women workers in the UAE and KSA have attended Apna Sapna training sessions  
  • A new phase of the programme is ongoing and focuses on personal savings

[1].Women Migrants, Remittances and Their Impact in the GCC Region: Towards a More Supportive Social and Policy Environment, by Dr. Ismail Hakki Genc - Professor of Economics and Dr. George Naufal - Assistant Professor of Economics, American University in Sharjah.

 

SOURCE Western Union