35 Years 35 Stories
Citra, a participant of Financial Literacy Programme
Citra couldn’t pay rent when first met by our staff. Today, she earns a steady income sufficient to support her family.
Citra packed up her breakfast stall and was pleased with the profit she made for the day. She was encouraged by the increasing customers returning for her curry puffs with extra crispy edges or vegetarian fried noodle. After many years living in poverty, she is now able to generate a steady income. She recorded the amount of her earning in a small note book, just as she was taught in the financial literacy class. She also set aside a specific amount to buy ingredients for tomorrow’s business and kept part of the profit as her wages.
The RM40-60 Citra earns daily translates into the ability to keep a small business running, feed her family 3 square meals and send her children to school. Her life is moving forward one step at a time – away from poverty and nearer towards economic independence. Citra could not imagine anything like these 3 years ago. With an unemployed husband who was an alcoholic and abusive, Citra had not known economic stability. It was normal for her and her two children to get by with one meal a day. Her new leaf of life began after she started attending the Financial Literacy Programme held monthly at Pusat Sama-Sama, the community resource centre set up by Community at Heart. This Financial Literacy Programme is specially designed for urban poor families.
Practicing more conscious financial decision daily has improved Citra’s household economic stability. With regular encouragement from the community development worker and monthly group meeting with fellow community members, Citra has made remarkable progress overall. Citra noticed her own growth and shared with others excitedly – she does her daily business transactions using mental arithmetic (not a calculator!), from a pure Tamil speaker she is now able to speak Bahasa Malaysia fluently. She has become more knowledgeable and most importantly, she is no longer afraid of her abusive husband. Even though her husband had beaten her and damaged her business equipment twice to show his disapproval, she said she is not be affected and she will not give up. She has overcome the inertia of fear and has stepped out with enormous courage. She is determined to carry on.
Since launched in 2010, over 800 members of urban poor communities in the Klang Valley have undergone the Financial Literacy Programme designed and conducted by Malaysian Care in collaboration with members of Network for Economic Transformation. Citra is one of the 180 + participants who have started income generation projects and are now experiencing economic stability.