It is often said that ‘kids are the future.’ But at the age of only 11, one Peruvian kid strongly disagrees. José Adolfo Quisocala Condori, from Arequipa, Peru, believes children are the present. And that they’re perfectly capable of taking that present into their own hands.
When he was just 7 years old, Quioscala started the Banco del Estudiante Bartselana, a cooperative bank that both helps students not only save money, but recycle, too. He noticed his classmates were given pocket money and spent it all on candy and toys, without saving a dime. After having being taught the value of savings by his parents, he came up with a new financial system that would allow his classmates to save money, but here’s the twist: doing so helps benefit the planet.
Here’s how it works: students bring in plastic waste – bottles, old flip flops, containers, you name it – and in exchange, they get a credit in their accounts. The money can only be withdrawn whenever an individual’s savings goals are met, and the plastic is recycled into new products by a local company.
It’s a great way to not only learn about money management, but to also help clean up the environment in Peru, where few recycling facilities are available. With a client base of initially only 20 students, his bank now counts over 2,000 members, and it’s growing.
“In the beginning, professors thought I was crazy or that a kid couldn’t start this type of project,” Quioscala told Peruvian newspaper Correo. But he has proved them all wrong. Peru’s congress has recognised him by giving him the National Volunteer Award in the environmental category, and in 2015, Queen Elizabeth II and the United Nations also honored the youngster.
Interestingly, the Bartselana Student Bank isn’t the world’s only financial institution for children, Back in 2012, an efficient banking system was created by street kids in India, but Quioscala’s is the first one we know of in South America. Currently he’s in talks with executives from one of Peru’s biggest banks, Banco de la Nación, to create a system that would bring the Banco del Estudiante Bartselana to the entire country.
Although the Bartselana Student Bank started out as a savings bank, it now offers children a variety of financial products, including loans, capital investment, microinsurance, as well as access to financial education through a series of courses. Jose strongly believes that instilling a culture of saving from childhood is one of the formulas to promote real change in Peru.
His eco-bank now has 10 educational centers with more than 3,000 children members who learn to invest and manage circular economic systems. The bank allows kids to maintain financial independence by caring about the environment.
“Children can generate the change our climate needs,” Adolfo insists.
It may seem odd for an 11 year old to be so focused on business and money, but Quioscala truly enjoys what he’s doing, and feels it’s benefiting people and his country. He’s a bit of an ‘old soul’ as well, and states: “To be honest, I feel more comfortable dealing with adults, who understand the projects I’m proposing.” We hope his project inspires other kids of his age and beyond that they are indeed capable of creating projects and ventures that make the world a better place, and motivate children to take the power of whatever finances they have access to into their own hands. After all, to paraphrase what Quioscala says, it’s not about their future; it’s about their present.
For more information or to follow the progress of the project, please click here.
Main image: Bartselana Student Bank/Facebook.
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