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I was ready to give up on financial capability programs, until this one. Here’s what works for First Nations women like me

I am a proud First Nations woman, and being financially stable and focusing on wellbeing is extremely important to me. I’ve had some not-so-great experiences participating in financial capability programs — then I attended a program run by an Indigenous woman with a holistic view of financial capability.

I’m focusing on clearing my debt right now, so I enrolled in the Indigenous Financial Foundation’s Money Masterclass session on debt and learned a lot about what works for me.

Here are my suggestions to improve financial capability programs for young First Nations women like me:

Create a welcoming space for us on social media

As part of the Masterclass, I was invited to join a private Facebook group for Indigenous women. The hosts of the page regularly update it with motivational quotes, links to resources and events, and it’s a safe space for us to ask questions that we might not feel comfortable asking in our day-to-day life. The page also shares simple questions and answers that I wouldn’t have thought I needed until I saw them (e.g. where to get a free credit score). 

Being quite young I spend most of my spare time on social media, so this page is a great tool to continue learning even when I am scrolling my timeline. The page helps me feel supported and I encourage other programs to create these safe spaces. 

Share culturally appropriate online resources, designed by Indigenous people

Having culturally appropriate resources is so important to me. Mob Strong, Debt Help (a legal advice service specifically for Indigenous people) were guest speakers at the Masterclass, sharing information that will help me become debt-free sooner than I thought possible. It was really inspiring to see other Aboriginal women who work in these spaces come along to help mob out. 

As part of the Masterclass, we also participated in the online program My Money Dream. This was all about financial literacy education, and the resources were culturally appropriate and designed for Indigenous people. It was also great to be able to access these resources online, any time. If you’re designing a financial capability program, I would suggest creating an online platform where the user can access it at the time most appropriate for them, with the option to take a break and come back to it when they are ready. Finance can be overwhelming!

Employ Indigenous staff to run your financial capability programs

The Money Masterclass is run by an Indigenous woman, and that made such a difference for me. My most important tip is to make sure your programs for Indigenous women are run BY Indigenous women. There is a sense of respect between mob we can all appreciate that intergenerational trauma lives within us and impacts our financial wellbeing, and we are all on a journey to face those barriers and flourish. 

I feel most comfortable speaking with someone who understands where I am coming from and has experienced it themselves. Having the session hosted by an Indigenous woman with a holistic view of financial capability is what works best for me. It gave me a chance to get advice from people just like me in a culturally empowering environment. 

Being in control of my finances gives me a sense of accomplishment. I am happy to say that I am on the path to living a debt-free life and am becoming more financially self-aware with the help of this program.

Teisha

Lived experience advocate, Women’s Financial Capability Project

Teisha is a member of a group of women from First Nations, migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds and women with disability who led a co-design process to create Lens on, hands on: An Intersectional An Intersectional Guide to Financial Capability Program Development. The free guide shares intersectional principles and practical tools to apply intersectionality to your program, including:

Want to learn more about Lens on, hands on: An Intersectional Guide to Financial Capability Program Development?

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