Empowered Children

Empowered Children

Aflatoun believes that children have the ability to take charge of their own lives and transform them for the better. The programme empowers them to make a positive change in their lives and communities. Aflatoun Children save in some form, either through individual savings or group savings accounts with local cooperative banks, postal banks and local microfinance institutions. Aflatoun children also set up social and financial enterprises that positively affect their communities. The small profits earned are invested into additional community projects, school outings and school materials.

Aflatoun Programme Stories

The BRAC programme in Bangladesh.
Saving in a box; Personal savings bank.

In total 2,092 children, aged 10-15, at primary and secondary school levels were involved in the Aflatoun programme at 30 schools in Trishal and Screemongol. In addition to the learning materials each Aflatoun student received a wooden savings box and a special book to keep track of their savings, expenses and balance. Almost 100% of the children save from one taka to 20 take per week with an average saving of 38 taka per month. The savings are usually spent on stationery, treats, and gifts for younger siblings. One key innovation of BRAC's programme is the purchasing of productive assets, like sheep, chickens and ducks. Children are purchasing these animals as a way to invest their savings and as a way to help their households and communities. In respect to the future, children would like to use their savings for secondary school admission fees, buying cows/goats, helping parents in repairing the house, helping family/siblings in need of treatment and helping neighbours.


According to a teacher, “students are happy when they count the savings after a certain period. In addition to saving money they also realise that sometimes used materials are of great use”. 

The SAHIL programme in Pakistan.
Saving good deeds; Social savings.

Aflatoun was introduced and tested in the Adiala Jail by Sahil. Since children do not have access to money, the key goal of the programme was to sensitize children to the changes needed in their live.The idea of social savings, in the form of good deeds, was introduced based on the idea that all people can help others and should be treated equally. The good deeds included “no abusing, no fighting, offering prayer at Fajar and Isha (morning and evening), not stealing, no lying and attending Aflatoun sessions”. To organize the savings system, children developed Aflatoun Clubs within prison wards.

Children were surprised about the positive feeling that came from acknowledging their good behaviour. This

recognition changed their perception of their personal behaviour and relations with others. Children also organised activities themselves such as cleaning of the wards and protection of new children from abuse. Interestingly, this resulted in new demands by the children on the jail based on their newfound knowledge of their rights, such as a demand for water coolers to give children access to clean water. In the jail, SAHIL states, reports of violence and disruptions are seen as being lower than in previous years.

Individual Formal Accounts from Commercial Banks in Uganda.
Cooperation between Private Education Development Network (PEDN) and Post Bank Uganda.

PEDN’s Aflatoun programme is geared toward Ugandan children aged 8-14. It is implemented in 38 schools and three youth centres in Kampala, Wakiso, and Kamuli districts. Approximately 9,000 Ugandan children and teenagers were involved in the programme in 2008.

Post Bank Uganda (PBU) offers child-friendly banking services. Aflatoun children can learn the habit of saving through low-cost and no-minimum balance accounts at the bank. PBU is interested in providing savings accounts to children while they’re young to develop long-term relationships with them. Children visit the bank and are impressed by the professional surroundings and friendliness of staff. The professional atmosphere and “adult” flavour of the bank seems to have added significance to saving money. Children associate the bank with protecting their money and making saving possible. Both the bank and the children recognise the benefits of the programme. Kids are able to pay their own school fees, buy their own school uniforms, and save pocket money in their own accounts.

“They greet you in a way that makes you get the guts of going there a second time.” 12 year old student.