Our stories

Nobody in the Dark: SmartLyte’s story

Hear from one of our community partners who participated in our financial inclusion programme.

By · 11/11/2020

SmartLyte, our community partner based in Birmingham, is passionate about teaching digital skills to transform people’s lives.

The families SmartLyte works with experience poverty caused by cultural, social and economic challenges. A majority of its members and their children lack literacy skills and have limited digital and financial management skills.

The parents SmartLyte sees often have low aspirations for themselves and for their children. SmartLyte strives to change this by teaching parenting skills and raising their aspirations, finding tailored ways to engage learners and keep them motivated.

The area where SmartLyte works is highly deprived, with large numbers facing social isolation. Many of its members are from ethnic minorities and have limited English Language skills. The Leave Nobody In The Dark message made through the Mastercard campaign allows the centre to extend the learning made through its own coronavirus response campaigns, and reach those hit hardest by the impact of Covid-19.

“We’ve been able to empower people during lockdown, remove shame around their financial situation, and build trust with our learners”

Parents have been able to learn about democracy and the role mothers can hold in the home. They have been taught about the influence and power managing the household budget can have, and how having savings can help their families.

Through the financial inclusion programme offered by SmartLyte they have learnt that as their child’s first teacher, they need to be positive financial role models and integrate good money and budgeting habits from early childhood.

During lockdown, with no face to face delivery possible, the resources from the Mastercard campaign helped SmartLyte to reinforce these key lessons. Working remotely, they were able to use the Future Proof Finance Quiz and then discuss the findings with the parents. Parents further developed their digital skills by using the online resources recommended by the quiz.

Many of the learners, particularly the mothers, don’t have their own bank accounts and rely on their husband to manage the finances in the home.

The resources offered through the Mastercard Nobody in the dark campaign have helped mothers to address and discuss this in the home, implementing healthy habits of saving, shopping around and opening post daily.

Hafsha Shaikh, SmartLyte Director, says: “The Mastercard Nobody in the Dark campaign has helped us find solutions to some of the financial challenges families face, in a simple and creative way. We’ve been able to empower people during lockdown, remove shame around their financial situation, and build trust with our learners so they don’t feel alone in the dark anymore and have the support they need to tackle their problems.”