Mark Pearce at Consumer Action Law Centre caught up with Rachna Bowman (Senior Practitioner of Financial Wellbeing working at South East Community Links) on the Consumer Action Podcast, to discuss the project she assisted FCVic with greatly – the creation of in-language videos resources for cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. You can click here to read more about the project or click here to access our library of in-language resources.
We hope you have 10 minutes to listen to this great chat between Mark and Rachna (or even more free time to listen to some of the previous guests, including financial counsellors Megan Goodwin and Claude Von Arx), but if you don’t here are some the salient points they made about why in-language resources are so powerful in reaching out to CALD communities:
Rachna: FCVic has been producing in-language videos to talk about financial counselling; to explain what financial counselling is to people from diverse backgrounds. It is an opportunity to reach out to people who might not understand what financial counselling is, and giving the message in their own language would make them understand the role of a financial counsellor, if they are in financial difficulty, who can they reach out and how they can reach up to a financial counsellor.
Mark: And why is it important to use people’s mother tongue or language?
R: If they are struggling, for many people, [there’s] a social stigma to talk about money. It doesn’t matter what cultural background come from; you will have a relationship with money. And when you have a relationship with money, there could be a life event that changes your relationship with money. You could lose your job, or have someone your loved one passes away. We all are one life event away from experiencing financial hardship, money being an intrinsic part of our life, and you don’t tend to go to your mates or to your family and suddenly say “I’m in financial hardship. I don’t know what to do.” You don’t use those terms.
M: Yes, that’s one of ‘our terms’, isn’t it? Not a phrase everyone knows.
R: Absolutely. And I guess coming to a financial counsellor, the first thing people do or ask is, “So how are you going to help me?” Are you expecting from the two people, being the financial counsellor and the person you’re working with, to open about everything and to talk about the most personal stuff, which is about money and the shame and the stigma that comes with it. Sitting there and going, I’ve actually failed, but it is not about failing. You don’t fail because you are in financial hardship. It is about giving the person that you’re working with that respect and their dignity. Saying “It’s OK, it can happen to anyone. You’re not alone in this.”
And by using their language people would feel more comfortable to accept help. For example, when I begin talking in Hindi, Urdu, or Punjabi, I see the demeanour change. It’s easy to relate to what’s going on, and they can open up more freely about. This is what’s happened to me.
Our thanks to Mark and Rachna for this discussion.
You can read an article Rachna wrote previously for the Devil’s Advocate here: Removing barriers in banking for people from multicultural communities.