Tilburg and Utrecht teams compete in Mind your Wallet final

The Gregorius Lyceum Utrecht won the first edition of the Debate in the Neighbourhood competition Mind your Wallet Sunday June the 30th. They defeated a team from Tilburg youth work organisation RNewt.  Best speaker in the competition was Kenan Avsjaloemov, from RNewt Tilburg. Fifty youth from Utrecht, Leiden, Amsterdam and Tilburg debated about financial problems among youth at the Leonardo Lyceum Antwerp on the Saturday, competing to be in the final in the Fakkelteater. The competition was concluded with a public debate on solutions for youth with financial problems.

The youth discussed issues such as a proposal to only allow minors to call prepaid, or to prevent them from getting into debt. They discussed the role of commercials and whether they should be banned from schools. Are young people able to say no when their bank account is empty or is peer pressure stronger? The youth declared that we should not generalise our conclusions to all young people. Pol de Grave from the Belgian Ministry of Education concurred: "It is mostly youth who suffer from discrimination, have psycho-social problems or live in poverty with their family that get into debt. Then they slide down into problems like a waterfall."Ilse Cornelisse researcher at the Antwerp Thomas More College pointed at the importance of a good financial education.

The majortiy agreed to the idea that more people get into financial problems than before. The youth claimed that online forms of payment are a strong cause for this. They argued that the government should stop collection agencies from raising fines immediately. They were less enthousiastic about instilling limits on youth to get loans.

Mind your Wallet is more than just a debate competition. The participating youth trained with materials on financial problems and their solutions. They will organise public debates in their own cities after this event. Next academic year, the project will run in several more cities besides Utrecht, Tilburg, Leiden and Amsterdam. The project is funded by Youth in Action and J.P. Morgan


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