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Meet Muhamed | Words that Count

15 Dec 2023

To mark our 30th year as an independent charity, we have gathered 30 stories to celebrate the many ways that life stories have been changed by three decades of the National Literacy Trust. In this edition, Muhamed, a Birmingham-based teacher, explains how working with the National Literacy Trust on the Words that Count programme, has impacted the teenagers he works with regularly.

Money management can be a minefield at any age...

Can you remember your very first payday, how it felt to hold the reward for hours of work in your hand, or see the numbers displayed in your bank account? Did your first wage last the whole month, or had you spent up before the end of the first week?

For lots of people, it can be difficult to know how to manage money. Juggling bills, social events, shopping and saving up, all whilst deciphering terms like inflation, APR, budget planning and credit scores. This is all whilst being constantly targeted by a host of retailers persuading you to buy their products. It’s overwhelming for most people, not least for a teenager who is just entering the world of work and money management.

Someone who knows this all too well is Muhamed in Birmingham. Muhamed is a teacher, who works day in day out with teenagers at Community Reform CIC, and recently took part in one of the National Literacy Trust’s programmes, Words that Count, which is funded by Experian.

What is Words that Count?

Words that Count has been designed to help young people aged 15 to 19 understand the language used in finance, to help build their financial resilience, give them the tools to manage their own money, to support them to be in control of their own financial destiny, and hopefully prevent them from facing cash flow issues in the future. We’ve used our knowledge of developing literacy skills, and combined it with financial know-how from Experian, along with community support from charity partner Foundation 92, to create a range of resources which these young people can access through a unique programme and resources delivered via community sports clubs.

Let's hear from Muhamed

We caught up with Muhamed to find out how his students had been impacted by the programme and he told us that after working through a Words that Count booklet, his Year 11 students are “equipped with the knowledge they need before they are thrown into adult scenarios”, which is exactly how we feel it should be.

Muhamed also told us that one of the students really stood out to him. This young lad was truly inspired by the Words that Count programme and wants to use his new-found skills to support his mum who is a single parent and has faced financial hardship. Whilst this student is leaving school, he is now set to invest in part-time work alongside studying at college. He sees both as an investment in his future and has a long-term goal of pursuing a degree in Law at university.

“It was amazing to see him construct a vision board, understanding the logistics of what he will encounter, and how he could support his mother financially in the meantime.”


How can I get involved with the Words that Count programme?

You can help your teens better understand their financial situation with videos and advice from social media influencers like money-savvy Poku Banks, certified financial coach and podcaster Laura-Ann Moore, as well as energy bills expert Chris Grimes on our Words For Life website.

Educators and leaders in the community are invite to find out more about how to roll out Words That Count in various community organisations and, like Muhamed, see the young people you come alongside “really thrive” as they tackle different topics around financial literacy and resilience. Details are in the sidebar of this article.

You can be part of changing life stories

If you’d like to help young people change their life stories, you can donate today and support us to give them the skills they need to build financial resilience for whatever their future holds.


Donate and help us continue to change life stories.
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