Emirates Foundation Joins Operation HOPE To Develop Financial Smarts In The Classroom

Plans to introduce new financial literacy curriculum – Isrif Sah – in universities beginning next academic year

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, July 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In its drive to empower Emirati youth and help them encounter the challenges ahead, the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development in partnership with global financial dignity leader Operation HOPE (HOPE) will create an educational curriculum on financial literacy to be operational in United Arab Emirates universities starting the next academic year.

The new curriculum, designed and presented in cooperation with the HOPE, is part of the Emirates Foundation's financial management program "Isrif Sah" (the Arabic translation for "Spend Wisely").

"We are pleased to join the Emirates Foundation to create Isrif Sah," said Mary Hagerty Ehrsam President Global Youth Empowerment Group and CEO, New York Market for Operation HOPE. "By assisting the foundation to build curriculums that will help university students develop good financial habits, ultimately we are creating a positive and systemic change to the global community.  It is all part of Operation HOPE's Silver Rights Mission to educate and empower people worldwide." Isrif Sah aims to educate Emirati youth on effective financial management, by teaching them good spending and saving habits and helping them avoid the risks of cumulative debts, which is the case with a growing number of young Emiratis according to recent statistics.

The financial literacy curriculum will be introduced into university lesson plans across the country in early October 2013.  Presented as a 4.5 hour course aimed at developing the financial acumen of young Emiratis it focuses on financial behavior in relation to lifestyle; concepts of saving; budget planning; the positive and negative impact of syndicated loans; and tips on building successful investment projects. The curriculum is based on the current lifestyle lived by youth in the UAE.

Dr. Sabha Al Shamsi, the Emirates Foundation's director of Social Inclusion said the new curriculum will be run as part of the Isrif Sah's Youth to Youth Mentorship Initiative bringing together senior students, teachers and role models to deliver the curriculum to university students.

"Our ambition is to get Isrif Sah to an advanced level whereby students in their final year will be able to teach freshmen. As such it will be a student-based program serving the interest of the students themselves," Al Shamsi said.

She noted tremendous efforts made by the project team who visited universities and educational institutions acquainting themselves with students' needs and measuring their reaction to the proposed curriculum.

Team members also attended international conferences on financial literacy, familiarizing themselves with world's best practices and standards in this field, said Al Shamsi, adding "Operation HOPE was chosen as partner to the project due to its 20 years of expertise in delivering financial literacy and dignity empowerment."

Isrif Sah is one of six programs run by the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development. It aims to develop the financial literacy of UAE youth, with a particular focus on the 15 to 25-year age group.

The program addresses personal finance issues specific to young Emiratis and provides the tools to help them enhance their financial planning and management skills and avoid excessive debt.

Isrif Sah embraces three projects: 

* The Youth Mentoring Project:  Designed to train 100 Emirati young people to the level where they can act as mentors to their peers and pass on financial management advice and tips for better savings practices.

* The Mobile Bus Project:  Maximising Isrif Sah's impact, and strengthening the Foundation's community links, by taking financial literacy activities and events to youth, academic and community centers across the country.

* The Educational Curriculum Initiative: Incorporating financial education into formal national school lesson plans.

About Operation HOPE (HOPE)
Since its inception in 1992, HOPE, a global nonprofit focused on financial dignity, has empowered more than 2 million individuals and directed more than $1.5 billion in private capital to America's low-wealth communities. It has recruited a growing army of 20,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, and helped raise average credit scores for financial case management clients more than 120 points over an average 18-month period. It currently serves more than 300 U.S. cities, as well as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and most recently, the United Arab Emirates. Its effort to empower underserved communities is a "silver rights" mission to make free enterprise work for everyone. 

SOURCE Operation HOPE



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