Published: 28th May 2022
Managing money matters: This teen has plans to take financial literacy to students in rural Maharashtra via his book
The name is Shaurya Kabra and he shifted from Mumbai to Jaipur only recently. But, mind you, there has been no shift in his mission to spread financial literacy among those who need it the most
Ek Prayaas is a 'prayaas' (meaning attempt in Hindi) by Shaurya Kabra to make basic financial literacy common knowledge, especially in rural areas.
Seems like a huge task taken on by a 16-year old, doesn't it? But he has plans in place to achieve this audacious task.
But the story goes back a little...
"From a very young age my interest in finance developed by seeing both my parents being involved in their business," says Shaurya, who has been a part of many dinner conversations which involved talking about business, finance and beyond.
And that, my friends, was this Mumbaikar's initiation into the world of currency.
He considered himself very lucky as he could hone his knowledge in the field of finance through his parents, teachers, books and various other sources. But at the same time, he was painfully aware of the fact that there are some children who might not be as lucky. He felt the burning need to do his bit. And the best way he thought he could achieve this feat was via a book.
Turning the pages
The whole idea behind the book was to teach people about financial opportunities and increase their understanding of investments and money growth. With this mission in mind, The student of Jayshree Periwal International School, Jaipur, started writing the book during his Class X. Though he finished it during the pandemic in 2020, he further decided to refine the book in his summer break.
Now, before you start wondering about when this book is going to be published. Hold your horses. Since his target audience are the ones who reside in rural areas, Shaurya reasoned that instead, of publishing books and it sitting pretty in stores, he should instead visit villages on the outskirts of Mumbai and try and spread awareness where its really needed.
Hence, the next task — Shaurya got the book, which he had written in English, translated to Hindi, Tamil and Marathi in order to make it more accessible to the rural children.
The teen proceeded to publish a small sample batch in February this year to distribute the book in backward areas alone, rather than just publishing it for an urban audience. Shaurya strongly feels that financial literacy is much needed, especially in rural India, where people toil to earn money and then tend to be easy targets for scamsters.
Shaurya put in hoards of background research, during which, he sent out Google Forms to professional experts and financial investors seeking their guidance on the topics he should pick, in order to make it user-friendly.
As children were his target audience, the youngster made sure to incorporate fun elements throughout the book. "At the end of every chapter, in a metaphoric manner, I included crossword puzzles, fill in the blanks and other interesting activities so that they are able to check their own understanding of the concepts," explained Shaurya.
Distribution of the book in rural schools is fine, but he also realised that this wouldn't do the trick entirely either, owing to the low literacy levels. Hence, he went old school and read the book out to them in March this year.
It was challenging, for sure, but when has that held back any teen driven by a purpose. But he found it challenging to translate the topic into other languages while narrating the book in rural villages, especially in places where kids could only communicate in Marathi. Since the readers were between 8-12 years of age, he had to get into their zone for the sake of their complete understanding of the theme. "I knew this book would be a triumphant only if the kids understood the topic completely, so I paid extra attention and adopt simpler words and even added fairy tale elements".
Needless to say, the children really enjoyed the book as it was very different from their usual curriculum.
SimplifyFintech is another initiative this youngster runs. The website was started to help kids of his age to acquire knowledge on financial literacy. He also aspires to launch his own start-up. Some day, but surely, one day!