Another 25 children joined the Community Tabung, our monthly savings programme as we held the first session in their neighbourhood this week. Currently there are 177 children aged 12 years old and below who deposit their monthly savings into a common pool where the entire amount is doubled by a donor and then split equally to all who contributed. The individual amounts are then matched dollar to dollar by the government when deposited into their Child Development Account.
The Child Development Account is a valuable resource for our families. The 10 parents who were present told us that they have drawn on it to meet their children’s educational and medical needs. They were happy that the Community Tabung was introduced in their neighbourhood to help them save and they would strongly encourage their neighbours to join them. As such, they decided that there would be no minimum savings amount required as it would discourage participation and run counter to the spirit of a collective responsibility for each other.
These parents were more informed than us about how they could draw on their savings. Its was news to those of us present that the Child Development Account could be used for purchases of vitamins and baby products at some pharmacies. It was most heartening to see these parents sharing information and looking out for each other. Sharing seemed to come naturally as they believed that good faith should always be extended others.
Good faith was perhaps a notion that a 13 year-old-girl was not quite familiar with. At 13, she no longer qualified to deposit into her Child Development Account but was most curious to see what the Community Tabung Programme was about when she heard about it from friends. She could not fathom why would anyone deposit their savings into a common pool for it to be shared with others. She felt that some would abuse the situation by depositing less with the hope that they would gain from the larger contributions of others.
A parent whose child regarded this girl as a friend, patiently attended to her question. She explained that in the first place, having their collective savings tripled by the donors was not an entitlement and the donors were not obligated give or share their money. She believed that the donors’ goodwill was not just about encouraging the habit of saving but to encourage a spirit of sharing. This mother then made her point, “You do not live in my neighbourhood but when you visit my home, I share our food with you. I am happy to see you enjoying it and I would never think of asking you for money.” She added that she regarded all visitors as friends and not people who were there to take to advantage of her hospitality.
At the end of the evening, this 13-year-old told us that sharing is something she could do more of.
Enjoy your week.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
― Mother Teresa