Sun Pera-Aralan program participants at Parklane Elementary School in the Philippines

Educators play a pivotal role in driving a country’s growth and advancement. Yet, some educators in the Philippines, particularly those who teach in public schools, face their own personal financial challenges. Many teachers struggle with debt and find it difficult to make ends meet. Given their busy schedules and intense workloads, innovative approaches are needed to help teachers understand and integrate essential aspects of financial literacy into their daily lives.

The Sun Life Foundation collaborated with AHA! Behavioral Design to create Sun Pera-Aralan, an award-winning financial management program designed specifically for teachers. At the heart of this program is Peso Sobre, a user-friendly budgeting tool that helps teachers efficiently manage their salaries. Through the use of the tool, teachers are able to gain a degree of financial autonomy by developing the knowledge to manage their monthly expenses.

Sun Pera-Aralan pairs the tool with financial learning sessions, activities and an online community fostering open and healthy financial discussions. The online community established by the program provides a forum in which positive financial behaviours can be reinforced. With over 14,000 members, the community promotes interactive learning and knowledge-sharing. Teachers proudly share their good budgeting and savings habits, money-saving tips and success supported by the usage of Peso Sobre. 

Sun Pera-Aralan continues to grow in its reach and impact. Over 72,000 public school teachers have participated in the program (as of Dec 31, 2023). Peso Sobre users reported having more confidence in their abilities to meet monthly expenses compared to non-users. After three months of consistent use of Peso Sobre, over 71% of users were able to stretch their budget to the end of the month.

“The Peso Sobre has been a great help to our family. I am learning how to manage my monthly expenses and it is easier to understand budgeting… I am no longer afraid of due dates anymore, and I do not need to consider taking loans as well,” said Michelle B. Arizabal, Teacher at Balumbato Elementary School, SDO Quezon City, Philippines

Sun Pera-Aralan has also been recognized for its positive impact on society. In 2021, it received the Excellence Award at the Philippine Quill Awards and the First Gawad Kaagapay Award for Financial Literacy from Quezon City’s Department of Education among others.

Despite these achievements, there is more work to be done to address the debt crisis among public school teachers in the Philippines. Inspired by the positive reception, the Sun Life Foundation is rolling out the program to an additional 35,000 teachers in 2024. It’s also further evolving the program to connect teachers with Sun Life advisors to share their expertise and provide customized support to help them build a brighter financial future.

Learn more about Sun Life’s commitment to helping people achieve financial security.