From brink of bankruptcy to teaching financial literacy to children
KUALA LUMPUR: “I was nearly declared bankrupt, so I do not want it to happen to my children.”
Having had such a close call with her depleting finances, it dawned upon Ida Faranina Othman that children and young adults generally do not know the basics of managing finances which is crucial in life.
The mother of three who was formally a ‘road runner’ for Mix FM back in those days, said lack of financial education since young had rendered many young adults bankrupt at an early stage in life.
According to a survey by the Asian Institute of Finance (AIF), young Malaysians are accruing debts at an early age while some 40 percent spend more than what they can afford and live on a constant financial edge.
Determined that her children not share a similar fate as she had faced, Ida Faranina, 37, fondly known among her peers as Nina, started her social enterprise project dubbed ‘Grow the Goose’.
Having been initiated way back in September 2015, the project focuses on developing the interest of children to self-fund themselves and at the same time, help others in need.
“Every child is blessed with a talent. Drawing, cooking and many others.
What I encourage them to do is to change their hobby to something that makes them earn money...and with the money earned, they can use it to help others,” she told Bernama.
Among her successful students were Ahmad Iszuddin Ahmad Idzham, 11, who is currently on a mission to save the endangered sea leatherback turtles.
The story of Ahmad Iszuddin wanting to save the sea leatherback turtles has gone viral and was even shared by Malaysian-born international music sensation, Yuna Zarai.
He was even invited to several local radio stations to share his story on saving the endangered species.
Another of her student, Naim Hamid Hamidin, 14, the artist who painted an image of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud, had handed it over to the monarch personally during his state visit to Malaysia last month.
“These kids have talent and have a kind heart to help others. What I want to do is not only teach them basic financial literacy but also how to give back to the community,” said Ida Faranina.
On her greatest obstacle in implementing the ‘Grow the Goose’ programme, she said it was a lonely journey as others had chosen to blame the policy of banks and the government, instead of understanding the core of the problem.
“Blaming others will not make the situation better. The change must come from within and one should not fear to learn something new. Nearly falling into bankruptcy was my mistake, not others,” she noted.
Having a reputation as a successful social entrepreneur and having successful graduates to her credit, Ida Faranina has been holding various programmes with established banks such as Maybank and Hong Leong.
Her programme has earned her a seat in the Social Enterprise Forum in Stockholm, Sweden to be held between April 21 and May 13, and will be fully sponsored by the Swedish Government.
She is the sole representative from Malaysia and was in the top eight finalists chosen from more than 900 applicants worldwide.
Ida Faranina Othman teaching her student during one of her ‘Grow The Goose’ sessions where kids are being taught on how to make money from their hobby and to give back to those in need. - Bernama photo