Discovering new ways to manage money
On Mornington Island there are no banks. Many people don’t have computers or smart phones, and may not have had exposure to modern-day banking, or even any banking at all.
Trisha Evans is the Financial Capability Worker at Save the Children’s Mornington Island Children and Family Centre. She works with the local community to help them improve their financial literacy as part of the Financial Wellbeing project.
“This is the only financial service on the island. We don’t have a bank. I work with clients on basic banking and transfers, setting them up for internet and telephone banking and just going along and teaching them how to use it, either on the computer or on an app.”
Mornington Island sits off the Australian mainland in the Gulf of Carpentaria. It’s the traditional homeland of the Lardil people and more recently home to the Kaiadilt, Yangkal and Gangalidda people, who moved here from surrounding islands.
In remote communities like this one, low literacy and numeracy rates, poor budgeting and high unemployment can severely affect already vulnerable families. Many families find themselves in debt and unable to make long-term plans.
As well as raising community awareness about how to manage money, the Financial Wellbeing project works with individuals and families on a one-off or ongoing basis – depending on their needs. This may involve negotiating and advocating on behalf of a family who owes money to creditors, accessing superannuation, applying for loans or accessing Indigenous Home Ownership programs.
More than just financial support
Trish says her work with the community is having more of an impact than she initially imagined.
“I just love helping people and making them feel happy about themselves.”
“I worked with a client who had issues with creditors. He came in feeling down, stressed, worrying that he has no money... Working with him was an eye opener compared to just being a Financial Capability Worker. I had to change and do the Financial Counselling side of it.
“He walked away feeling really good knowing there was someone here to help him. He walked out of here with a big smile on his face … knowing that at the end of it he had some money still in his account and we had talked to the creditors about how much he could afford to pay.”
Thanks to your support, the Financial Wellbeing program has assisted more than 420 families since it began in 2012. Equipping families with the skills to lift themselves out of debt and to efficiently budget, helps to relieve their short-term financial burden and ensure the ongoing needs of their children are met.
Header image: Save the Children staff member, Trish, runs a Financial Literacy session for local workers.
Photo: Rob McKechnie- Save the Children