About a+b=3 (a and b make 3)
In 2005 Sophie Paine founded a+b=3 in Hong Kong. Our first workshop “Good Habits with Money” targeted domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines who migrate to make money but then face financial challenges in Hong Kong. To migrate they borrow money to pay for the agent’s fee, visa and plane ticket; they remit a big part of their salary to their family and loneliness and easy credit often push them to overspending and more debt. The workshop included games on how to budget and control spending. Soon, we added workshops on how to set up a business back home to prevent migrant workers whose businesses had failed coming back to Hong Kong a second or third time to pay off their debts. Over time our workshops focused more on behaviours and not only on the technical tools. We grew as migrant workers’ employers learned about our programmes and we added after-school money management programmes for children and teens.
In 2007, Enfants du Mekong asked us to run a workshop in Cambodia for their silk weavers who struggle to manage their income. We went on to train their staff, the youth they sponsor, and to work with them in the Philippines as well.
2007 was a key date for another reason too: Enrich our “spin-off” sister charity was created and took over our programmes for migrant workers in Hong Kong, while a+b=3 focused on creating financial education programmes and training trainers, especially through NGOs.