Kashvi Jindal, a 17-year-old entrepreneur, founded 'Invest The Change' with a mission to empower underprivileged individuals by teaching them financial literacy and making them aware abut their rights to schemes deigned for them. Inspired by witnessing the financial struggles faced by blue-collar workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kashvi recognised the need for accessible insurance options.
Through her initiative, she educates and assists individuals in rural areas, particularly women, to understand money management, gain financial independence, and tap into affordable government insurance schemes.
In a conversation with SheThePeople, Kashvi Jindal shares her motivation, the positive impact of 'Invest The Change,' and valuable insights on the importance of financial literacy for underprivileged communities.
Kashvi Jindal Interview
Can you tell us more about your platform, 'Invest the Change,' and what inspired you to start it?
Invest the Change aims to create awareness among blue-collar workers in rural areas about government schemes, particularly related to insurance. I was inspired to start this project after witnessing the financial struggles faced by people working at my house during the COVID-19 pandemic. I realised that insurance could be a simple solution, but private insurance was expensive for low-income middle-class and blue-collar workers. Upon researching, I discovered affordable government insurance schemes and began educating and assisting individuals in acquiring these benefits.
How do you believe financial literacy can make a difference in the lives of underprivileged individuals?
Financial literacy is crucial as it enables individuals to use their earnings wisely and efficiently. It improves their quality of life by empowering them to understand how to manage their money effectively. Many underprivileged women rely on male family members to handle their finances, leaving them unaware of where their money goes. With financial literacy, they become independent, capable of making informed decisions, saving money, and growing their wealth.
Could you share some success stories or examples of how 'Invest the Change' has positively impacted the lives of blue-collar job workers?
One success story involves Kanta Devi, who attended our financial literacy sessions and acquired an insurance scheme. When her family faced debt, they were able to benefit from the scheme, significantly impacting their financial situation. This is just one example of how our initiative has positively influenced lives.
How do you balance your academic commitments as a student with your business?
I am in Grade 12. The one thing that I've learned like it's very challenging at times to balance it all, is to prioritise stuff. I have learned to prioritise what I want to get done first and delegate responsibilities as well. We have various volunteers within the team who help us conduct the sessions and with various aspects. So that has been helpful. So I think prioritising and delegating work has really helped me balance everything.
Balancing academics and business has been challenging, but I prioritise tasks and delegate responsibilities to volunteers within our team.
As an advocate for financial literacy, why do you think it is particularly important for women to know about money management and financial independence?
In a patriarchal society like India, where financial matters are predominantly handled by men, women often lack awareness of managing money. Financial literacy grants them independence, allowing them to take charge of their finances, make wise financial decisions, and build confidence in their earning and spending capabilities.
What advice do you have for women who want to take control of their financial lives but may feel overwhelmed or unsure where to start?
It is often extremely overwhelming because you're flooded with so much information. I think depending on the risk profile of that particular individual; for example, it's very important to see how much you're earning and what your most important expenses are, like food, education for the children, maybe house rent, whatever it is. I think listing out the primary expenses and then seeing what excess money you have left and where you can cut down is the most important thing instead of actually just going up on Google and reading up so much because it can become really overwhelming like that.
Start by listing your primary expenses and determining the excess money available after meeting those needs. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by excessive information and focus on understanding one's risk profile. Research government programmes and seek assistance if needed to comprehend the available options. It is important, to begin with basic knowledge and gradually expand financial literacy.
Are there any specific strategies or resources you recommend for women to enhance their financial knowledge and build long-term financial security?
Researching government schemes and registering for those that are beneficial is recommended. Women can also form self-help groups to pool money and meet their financial needs. Building a community and seeking knowledge through reading, asking questions, and gaining control over financial independence are essential steps towards long-term financial security.
I think women, in general, are very scared of entering this field because it is pretty much male-dominated. But I think controlling and getting more knowledge about financial literacy is super important for everybody, every single person out there, especially women because they are left in the dark about financial expenses a lot of the time. And to gain more control over your life, you need to be financially independent.
And it is not as overwhelming as it seems. You can simplify it for yourself. So especially for everybody, but especially for women, get more knowledge. Read up as much as possible, ask questions, and control your financial independence as much as you can.