Indigenous women’s financial wellness program funded
The First Nations Foundation has received a major grant for its Indigenous Women’s Financial Wellness (IWFW) project, which aims to empower the economic future of First Nations women.
The $ 790,000 grant was made available to the foundation as part of the federal government’s women’s leadership and development program.
The grant will enable IWFW to run for three years and provide the foundation’s award-winning financial education program “My Money Dream” to 1,000 women in 20 regional communities.
First Nations Foundation executive director Phil Usher said that “my money dream” had a lasting impact on participants.
“Those who have completed the program are more likely to stick to a budget, engage in financial services, and take positive action to improve their financial health, along with marked improvements in their attitudes and beliefs,” Usher said.
“These crucial skills enable Indigenous women to gain control over their financial independence, raise awareness of potential financial abuse, and link them to retirement, insurance and legal aid.
“It is also important to note that this is being led by the Aboriginal women within the organization. Essentially, this is about women’s business and we want to create a safe environment for sharing stories and experiences. “
IWFW project participant. Photo delivered.
The IWFW addresses the challenges of participation in the workplace with projects aimed at improving the employability, retention and general wellbeing of participants as they enter the world of work.
Larisha Jerome, IWFW project leader at the First Nations Foundation, said the project was a holistic approach to financial health.
“My family never talked about these things, about growing up, so it’s crazy now that we talk about them more and people share their experiences,” she said.
“’Money shame’ is a very big hurdle for many of the people we work with, and especially for women. Our goal is to redress the economic injustices we face – not just for indigenous peoples, but also for indigenous women in the community. “
The program works to educate women about the signs of financial abuse.
“We are focused on how we can empower women and then how we can empower the community to understand and eliminate financial abuse,” said Jerome.
“We have to empower our women. We are so capable, but we just need to be empowered. “
IWFW project manager Larisha Jerome. Photo delivered.
In 2019, the First Nations Foundation, Center for Social Impact, and NAB published a study that confirmed that one in ten Indigenous Australians is financially secure, compared to one in two Indigenous Australians.
Usher says breaking down the “money shame” is the first step in breaking down barriers for indigenous women.
“By breaking down these barriers and empowering and inspiring through education, we are taking a more holistic approach to understanding the underlying impact on our indigenous women,” he said.
Jerome said it’s about taking that first step.
“A lot of people feel this financial debt when they are in need, but the point is to start somewhere. When you are aware of this, take the first step towards change – there is always a way out of financial hardship, ”she said.
From Rachael Knowles