A GROUP of university students have now introduced to Thailand’s biggest slum community “a practical board game” for the purpose of promoting financial literacy among teenagers.
The game will focus on children between 12 and 15 years old in Bangkok’s Klong Toei community – people who will soon manage cash on their own.
“After talking to locals here, we have found that many have financial problems such as debts,” said Chalisa Pongpan, a student from the Thammasat University’s Faculty of Learning Sciences and Education. “But this does not mean people here are poor. It’s just that they apparently need some basic financial skills.”
Chalisa and 20 other classmates surveyed and talked to the community’s residents before deciding to create a board game to improve locals’ financial literacy.
The Klong Toei community has struggled with various problems including drugs, family issues and even garbage.
Chalisa’s group decided to focus on financial solutions, though, because they felt confident that it was an area where they could play a role and make a difference.
“We have chosen the board game as the medium to inculcate financial literacy, knowledge and skills,” Chalisa said. “Children, after all, love playing and one can learn from playing as well.”
Her group did an in-depth survey of the community and were thus able to create a game that was relevant to the everyday lives of the locals. About 30 players can take part each time the game is played.
Locations shown in the game are based on real places in the community. Taking financial literacy as the theme, this board game puts all its players into debt at the start. Players then have to use various different approaches to clear their debt during the game.
“In this game, kids must learn how to invest and manage their money,” said Paveena Chamchoy, assistant dean for Corporate Communication and Networking at the Thammasat University’s Faculty of Learning Sciences and Education. “Every player starts the game with debts. They must find a way to discharge their debt. The player who can discharge their debts and collect 5000 first wins the game”.
After players finish the game, Chalisa’s group is on hand to provide additional financial knowledge and tips. “The kids can learn something that is not from the classroom. By playing this board game the youngsters will know better about how to manage money in their daily lives,” said Chalisa.
She and other group members have also learned many things along the way as they surveyed the community, developed the board game and interacted with locals.
“They have expanded our perspectives,” she said.
She said that what was initially seen as a good idea sometimes required adjustments during implementation – one of the lessons she has learned from the Klong Toei Community while creating the project.
Penwadee Saengjan, manager of the Duang Prateep Foundation, said that when the Thammasat students talked with the community kids, many people from the community said they did not have enough money for their needs. According to Penwadee, many people waste money on buying lottery tickets, and that is why the Thammasat students came up with the board game.
Teenager “Fon” spent all her money on buying lottery tickets and went bankrupt. However, after playing this game several times, Fon learned to spend her money more wisely. She spent her money in the game for other investments instead of buying lottery tickets.