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Home > International
Self-help best option
for returnees

T K Devasia (Kerala Buzz) / 23 November 2012

After its plea for a scheme to rehabilitate the Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) returning to their home state after several years of toil abroad not receiving any favourable response from the federal government, the state is veering around to the view that the NRKs and their families themselves should take care of their future.

The Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (Norka) department of the government thinks the NRKs can secure their post-return life only if they save part of their earnings and invest them in remunerative areas. Its field agency, Norka-Roots, has joined hands with Dubai-based Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust (PBWD) to spread this message.

Over 150 family members, mostly wives, of the NRKs vowed to save at least 20 per cent of the remittance they receive from abroad after they were explained how the savings can make a difference in their life in three workshops conducted by the PBWD in the capital district recently.

Majority of them have been spending whatever they were getting. They said the money they get every month was sufficient to meet only the household needs. However, when they were told about areas where they can cut expenditure without affecting the quality of the life, many of them agreed that they can indeed save some for the future.

Impressed by the response of the family members, Norka-Roots chief executive officer Noel Thomas said they will examine possibility of conducting such financial education workshops throughout the state in association with the local bodies. The company will also consider methods to help the families start micro enterprises with the savings they make.

PBWD chairman K V Shamusheen, who has conducted over 270 such workshops across Middle East in the past one decade, said financial education was found effective in bringing about financial discipline and cultivating a habit of saving among expatriates.

A study by Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) showed that the programme offered to a group of married migrant workers whose wives remained behind in India, led to substantial changes in the migrant financial practices and savings goals.

The university arrived at the conclusion after evaluating the financial practices of about 100 expatriates, who attended the programme at Qatar, and their families in India. The evaluation was done a year after the expatriates attended the programme.

Shamsudheen said he had decided to extend the programme to the families of the migrants since they are handling the remittances.

He said most of the family members of the migrants were lavishly spending the money because of wrong perceptions of the life in Gulf. He said majority of the migrants were sending money home by forgoing their own basic requirements. Many of them even borrow money to keep the family happy. Such people will have a hard time when they return home after ending their overseas life.


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