JA SparktheDream: Empowering the Next Generation of Financially Savvy Filipinos

As parents, we all want the best for our children. We want them to grow up to be responsible, independent, and successful individuals.

One of the most important skills we can teach our children is financial literacy.

In the Philippines, where money is often a sensitive topic, it is crucial that we start educating our children about money management at a young age.

I know firsthand the importance of teaching financial literacy to children. As a mother of two, my eldest being 9 years old, I have been teaching her about handling money since she was just 2 years old.

From putting coins in her piggy bank to opening her first savings account at the bank, and even opening her own stock market account as a birthday gift when she turned three, I have seen the positive impact of early financial education.


By teaching our children about money, we are not only helping them manage their finances effectively, but we are also instilling important values such as responsibility, discipline, and delayed gratification. These skills will serve them well throughout their lives and help them achieve their goals.

Imagine the sense of pride and accomplishment your child will feel when they are able to save up for something they really want, or when they are able to make wise investment decisions. By teaching financial literacy, we are giving our children the tools they need to succeed in life.

JA SparkTheDream

While teaching financial literacy to children is important, not all parents have the knowledge, time, or desire to do so. Fortunately, there are programs available to help fill this gap.

One such program is JA SparktheDream, which integrates financial, social, and life skills education to help boost financial literacy in the country.

I had the privilege of being invited to an event at Heroes Headquarters, Shangri-La Plaza where FWD Life Insurance Corporation (FWD Philippines) and Junior Achievement of the Philippines (JA Philippines) announced JA SparktheDream’s launch.

This initiative is part of FWD Group’s 10th anniversary community efforts and aims to benefit 25,000 students in Asia-Pacific by 2024.

Janice Sabitsana with Karin Yamamoto of JA Philippines

“Nation-building starts with the young, and we hope to make a difference with our student participants of the program to help them learn and become their best selves, and in turn share that spark with their families and communities,” FWD Philippines President & CEO, Antonio “Jumbing” De Rosas shared how early education is crucial for building a financially savvy future in the Philippines.

The JA SparktheDream program consists of three areas: financial awareness, financial capability, and economic and social inclusion. Students will develop their financial literacy skills through financial management lessons led by FWD volunteers, an interactive online learning platform, family activities, and community engagement.

financial education for children

“There are skills, habits, and mindsets that take root most effectively if the seeds are planted early on. There is a sense of empowerment that comes with knowing you can make choices in life that can positively impact yourselves, your families, and the broader community,” JA Asia Pacific President and CEO, Maziar Sabet shares on the program’s focus on young learners.

As part of JA SparktheDream, students will also participate in a regional social innovation showcase, where they work with FWD volunteers, parents, teachers, and each other to identify and address a local issue. The outstanding teams will represent the Philippines and participate in the JA SparktheDream Social Challenge with students from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

financial literacy and financial inclusion

With the commitment to reach out to young people, FWD also partnered with UMG Philippines and tapped The Voice Kids Season 2 Grand Champion Elha Nympha to launch a new single “Spark the Dream,” which debuted during the event. The young singer is known for her life story and has made it her mission to inspire others to nurture their own dreams.

“As the insurer of the next generation, FWD is always exploring creative and innovative ways to promote financial literacy and inclusion with young people and enable them to secure their best future,” said FWD Philippines Chief Marketing and Digital Business Officer, Roche Vandenberghe.

JA SparktheDream is just one of the many programs that FWD Life Insurance has in store for 2023. To learn more about the initiative, visit

financial literacy programs in the philippines

Reigniting a Passion for Financial Literacy

Resigning from my job to become a stay-at-home mom in 2014 was a life-changing decision, but attending a stock market seminar at COL Financial was even more impactful.

The facilitator, Jed Velarde, inspired me to become financially-savvy and teach others to do the same.

His words sparked a dream that has led me to create a personal finance blog and YouTube channel aimed at advocating financial literacy for those who didn’t have the opportunity to learn it at a young age, like me.

It’s amazing how one small seminar can lead to such a meaningful impact.

Nine years later, I had the privilege of meeting Jed again and sharing my passion for financial education with others.

At the event, Jed Velarde, who represents COL Financial and is a senior financial literacy trainer and adviser at JA Philippines, shared that JA SparktheDream aims to spark the dreams of ordinary students. This program believes that through financial literacy, students can have a change in perspective and realize that becoming financially literate is achievable.

As a personal finance advocate, I couldn’t agree more with the program’s focus on empowering students to take control of their financial future and discover new ways of creating positive change in their lives.

At the end of the day, I believe that teaching our children about money is not only beneficial for them—it can also shape them into responsible adults who have the skills and resources to pursue their life goals.

By educating young minds about financial literacy, we can give them the power to reach their dreams and become positive contributors to society.

Janice Sabitsana with Jed Velarde, Gracie Maulion, and Juhanna

My dear friend Gracie Maulion, also known as “Tipid Mommy,” was also one of the panelists at the JA SparktheDream event. She enlightened the audience on the significance of instilling financial literacy in our kids from a young age.

Gracie emphasized that it’s crucial to set a positive example for our children by responsibly managing our finances and involving them in financial conversations, no matter how small. Every little lesson can help them grasp important financial concepts, such as budgeting and saving for retirement.

The future of finance is in our hands

Let’s work together to nurture a generation that understands money and the value it brings to our lives.

After all, teaching children about money should be seen as an investment—not only in their futures but also in our collective financial well-being.

I am proud to be a part of a growing movement to bring financial literacy into the homes and hearts of Filipinos everywhere.

I believe that through projects like JA SparktheDream, we can make real strides towards creating a financially empowered generation in the Philippines.

Overall, it was an inspiring experience to be in a room filled with passionate people dedicated to empowering the next generation of Filipinos with financial knowledge and skills.

I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and I look forward to collaborating more with other advocates who are committed to helping our children reach their full potential.

Let’s join forces to break the financial literacy gap and ignite a passion for financial education in our children. Together we can create a better, more financially savvy future for generations to come.

READ: Teaching Kids About Money

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