Moneylife Foundation, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, conducted a special financial literacy seminar for women savers. It also felicitated Goa-based activists, Advocate Albertina Almeida, an eminent human rights activist and a lawyer; and Dr Nishtha Desai, director of Children’s Rights in Goa, an NGO involved in child protection and advocacy. This was the Foundation’s first, full day, financial literacy seminar at Goa the International Centre Goa (IGC). A session on women was conducted by Sucheta Dalal, founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation.
Ms Dalal emphasized on the importance of financial literacy among women and also urged men to share financial information with their spouses. Lack of financial literacy often makes housewives the target of the multi-level marketing and Ponzi schemes, hence it is important for them to be financially aware. She gave cases studies, explaining the financial strains the family has to go through in case of divorce or separation and its effect of loan repayment if taken by the couple.
According to Ms Dalal, all women must make a list of their family’s financial commitments and outstanding obligations, check for nominations on FDs, apartment documents, insurance and ensure they are up-to-date. They should have at least one separate bank account, she stressed.
The event was followed by felicitation of the women activist from Goa. Nandini Sahai, the director of the International Centre, Goa, which also partnered with Moneylife Foundation introduced the women activists.
Advocate Albertina Almeida, a practicing lawyer and human rights activist has been actively involved in many complaints committees to inquire into the cases of sexual harassment at work place among others and draft their policy. She is associated with various organizations and advocacy groups fighting for women’s rights, children’s rights, human rights, self-governance, environment, development and tourism related issues. She was founder-activist of Bailancho Saad, a women’s collective organization working on gender concerns, founding and managing trustee of Saad Aangan, a gender resource group and governing body member of Sandarsh, involved in research and training initiatives.
“I am glad that an organization which works for financial literacy has honoured me for my work which has nothing to do with finance. I don’t understand much about money but understand property rights. I appreciate Moneylife Foundation’s effort in making women financially aware including on the property matters,” said Adv Almeida while receiving the award.
Adv Almeida has conducted numerous programs and training sessions such as gender sensitization programmes for the Goa police and conceptualizing and conducting capacity building program for elected women representatives from Panchayati Raj Institute. Currently, she is the member of the permanent Lok Adalat for North Goa Districts and member of complaints committees of various workplaces constitutes as per the Vishaka Judgment of the Supreme Court.
Dr Nishtha Desai, is director of Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG), the first organization in India to attempt and build a coordinated community response to trafficking of children and tourism-related paedophilia. Apart from its active campaigning, it conducts training and sensitization programmes for the Goa police and assists on cases. It also engages the tourism industry to develop a child-friendly tourism code. Its Stop Paedophilia campaign was developed in November 2000 and has been improved and strengthened over the years.
“I am happy that Moneylife Foundation has recognized our work. It’s a great pleasure to receive this award on International Women’s Day as our team has majority of women,” said Dr Desai.
CRG along with other NGOs campaigned and submitted a draft scheme to the government to combat paedophilia and child trafficking. Its efforts paid off when the ‘Goa Children’s Act’ was enacted. The legislation has specifically made such abuse a non-bailable offence under Section 2 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973.
Dr Desai is also a prolific writer. She has authored three books, “Child Sexual Abuse in Goa: A Case Study”; “See the Evil; A study on tourism related paedophilia in Goa”; and “Liberation vs Armed Aggression – The Media Responses to Goa’s Liberation”.