Phetchabun – January 13 2015: Inmates face many challenges when trying to re-enter society and the workforce after they are released from prison, which is considered a major problem in Thailand, leading to unemployment, recidivism, and other social ills.
To help address this issue, the Citi Foundation, Citi (Thailand), and the Kenan Foundation Asia launched the “Financial Literacy for At-Risk Women” program, which teaches financial literacy and basic entrepreneurship skills to incarcerated women who are nearing their release. Now in its seventh year, the project has grown to include the Kae Noi Temporary Prison in Phetchabun province, where it will bring this unique training opportunity to help improve the lives of incarcerated women.
Ms. Hassaya Hasitabhan, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Head of Corporate Citizenship (Citibank, N.A.) said, “The ‘Financial Literacy for At-Risk Women’ program offers financial training to women who are considered ‘at-risk,’ including those who have inconsistent incomes and unstable occupations. The training provides critical financial knowledge and skills that can be put into use by the women in their daily lives.
“This year marks the seventh year of the project. By the end of the third year of the project, we began training incarcerated women who were nearing their release date, because they have a direct need and can apply the knowledge they learn from Citi immediately after their release. In addition to financial literacy training, we focus on basic entrepreneurship skills building. Although some companies have made organizational changes designed to welcome recently released inmates, there are still too many women facing a lack of opportunity to earn a living upon release from prison. Providing training in financial literacy and basic entrepreneurship skills will allow these women to better pursue job opportunities or operate their own small businesses, giving them and their families a source of income. The Citi ‘Financial Literacy for At-Risk Women’, therefore, helps to reduce unemployment, recidivism, and other social problems.”
She added, “At Kae Noi Temporary Prison, almost all of the trainees are inmates in the Kamlangjai (support and encouragement) Project, under the Royal Initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Bajarakitiyabha. They are first class inmates who will be released within 3 years, and they have a distinct need for financial and entrepreneurial skills.”
Mr. Wichai Limpitikranon, Technical Manager, Business and Economic Development, Kenan Foundation Asia said, “This training is a three day training, the first day of which will start with setting life goals and exploring how to reduce unnecessary expenses in order to achieve such goals. Day two will focus on saving techniques, budgeting techniques, and basic marketing strategies. Day three will focus on pricing, breakeven points, and business plans. The trainers use interactive teaching methodologies that focus on game play and group activities. Citi volunteers also join the training to share their knowledge and experiences, which is very appealing to the interests of the incarcerated women.”
So far, the project has trained over 2,500 at-risk women, including over 540 slum residents and nightlife women, over 1,000 women in government vocational training programs, and almost 1,000 incarcerated women. The success of this project can be seen in the results following the trainings, which show that almost all of the women who participated in the program have continued with their monthly savings and budgeting plans.
Mr. Dacha Janjam, Director of Khae Noi Temporary Prison said, “We are delighted and grateful to Citi, the Citi Foundation, and Kenan Foundation Asia for providing financial literacy training to the detainees. This aligns with our goal of providing opportunities to inmates and developing positive new habits for the women in our detention center. After studying the ‘At-Risk Women Financial Literacy’ program, we believe that this program provides positive encouragement to the detainees, giving them a chance to learn, understand, and manage their daily lives after they are released. We fully support the project and its goal of building the detainees’ capacity and developing their future.”