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Developing financial capability – a student perspective

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Aorere College year 13 students from the Lunches for Less team talk about the programme’s origins, processes, and the learning gained on their year-long enterprise project, which teaches primary school students how to make a healthy lunch for under $2 a day.

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

Supporting local communities with financial capability

"Pasifika success will be characterised by demanding, vibrant, dynamic, successful Pasifika learners, secure and confident in their identities, languages and cultures through all curriculum areas such as the arts, sciences, technology, social sciences, and mathematics. This involves the deliberate and systematic use of a holistic approach and using existing communities, venues, and networks to access Pasifika parents, families, and learners to support their wellbeing and learning from beginning to end."

Pasifika Education Plan 2013–2017, p 3

  • How do you ensure that the students at your school have the knowledge and understanding of financial information and processes that have an impact on daily living?
  • How can you provide an authentic learning context, which connects students’ life experiences with their learning at your school?
  • In what ways could you connect with your Pasifika (or other) communities, to access parents, families, and learners to support their financial wellbeing and learning?

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Financial capability and enterprise
A discussion of how financial capabilities enhance students’ engagement in enterprise learning, and enterprise learning enhances students’ engagement in building their financial capability.


Nerisa Foisaga Sue

The Lunches for Less programme is a non-profit organisation which runs in decile one primary schools around South Auckland. Basically we target year three and four students, where we teach them how to make a healthy lunch that is under $2 a day.

Tasi Nofoaiga

How we identified the issue of kids not going to school with any lunches or some going with money and spending it on junk food is that we looked at our past and what we did when we were in primary schools, and we saw that there were times when we went to schools with no lunches because our families were living on a low income. And so we saw that that was an issue, and then we saw that…We looked at the stats of how many young students nowadays have obesity and diabetes, so we wanted to make a change and so we came up with this project, Lunches for Less.

Nerisa Foisaga Sue

The beginning of the year we had $1500 to start off our project and we learnt that when we went shopping money does go very fast. So we didn’t really plan or cut out a budget for what ingredients and how much they’re costing, we just went to one shop and we thought, “Oh we’ll just buy it all here,” and we found that our money did go very fast. So after that, for shopping, we always had budgets.

Tasi Nofoaiga

What Lunches for Less did before we actually conducted our workshops is that we looked at different companies who can give us funding, and we looked at how much income we will need to produce our product in our workshops, and we also came up with separate budgets. So one budget was on the different lunches we can produce, and then we found that our lunches were under $2. But then we looked at our budgets this year and then we saw that for each lunch it actually costs under $1, but then we’ve left space in there for seasonal changes for prices and for other alternatives like yoghurts and lettuce and vegetables that parents can put into their children’s lunch.

Naydina Joseph

In planning the workshops, first we had to know how many students there will be at the workshop so that we could know how many bread or carrots or crackers, like amount of crackers and bread we had to buy.

Tasi Nofoaiga

In the workshop my role is to give the resource packs and explain the resource packs to the year three students. So we put more resources in the resource packs, like brochures and booklets, to make it more understandable for the parents. And as well as that, after all our workshops have completed, we are in good partnership with Heart Foundation and we get them to go back and have a meeting with the parents and then talk to them briefly about our project and the different budgets that they can work with, as well as the Mangere Budget Service as well.

I’ve told my church about our programme and my Dad’s talked to them about it, and then when I say that our lunches are under $2 they don’t really understand how that’s under $2 and that’s because they haven’t worked with budgets before. So then I explain it to them and they get it then.

Kativi Lausi’i

I learnt that every amount of money that you get or comes in, you need to sit down and plan a budget, like what are you going to use for this week, what are you going to do when you get the change back, what are you going to use that for. And I learnt that money don’t come easy, that everyday we’ve got to plan because like when we grow older we become wiser, and when we grow older we need to plan how much money we are going to use for this day.

Tasi Nofoaiga

The financial knowledge I’ve learnt doing this project is that I’ve learnt how to budget, and how to use budgets in my personal life and in my school life as well.

Naydina Joseph

What I learnt from the workshop I want to keep with me and one day, when I become a Mum, I can teach them what I taught the other kids.

Tasi Nofoaiga

I’ve learnt to budget what I need and what I don’t really need, and I’ve also learnt to borrow what you actually need to borrow instead of borrowing a large amount, which you can’t pay back. And adapting my knowledge here to my life in the future is that it can really benefit me and my life independently and for my studies and even if I’m moving on to like a family or anything else in my life.

Nerisa Foisaga Sue

As I go forward in my life next year I’m off to uni, I’ll hopefully be able to take on the budgeting skills I learnt in Lunches for Less.

Published on: 25 Nov 2013