Maria’s story: “It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up.”

Maria* had been through a tough run of luck. Her debts were piling up and she was feeling very stressed about her financial situation.

“My long-term interest was building up,” she explains. “My health was failing me and I couldn’t work. I was going without the basics – things just got a wee bit ridiculous.”

Maria had been working with a budget advisor at Jubilee Budget Services in Invercargill, who mentioned applying for a loan from Ngā Tāngata Microfinance a while back, but Maria turned it down at first. “She told me all about it and gave me a brochure to read. I thought it was great, but at first I wasn’t keen on involving anyone else in my personal affairs.”

She says it took a few months to change her mind. “Then I thought, why not? This can help you,” she explains. “It was an opportunity to get an interest-free loan with easier repayments that I can afford.”

Maria’s financial mentor helped her apply for a GetControl Debt Relief Loan from NTM. “It was easy really. I just signed forms, which was awesome. It certainly takes a load off.”

“I’m feeling much better now,” she says. “I don’t have to go without any more, or worry about my debts. My payments are easier – the money goes straight to them from WINZ each week, instead of having a whole lot of different bank accounts to pay into.”

Maria says that working with a financial mentor has been hugely helpful. “My mentor found easier ways for me to live day to day. It’s a great service, and the people are lovely.”

“I do recommend it to others who are in a similar situation,” she says. “There are a lot of people who need help, often not through their own fault – life can be pretty tough. It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up.”

Note: all names including those of the loan companies have been changed. Any re-publishing of these case studies need the permission of Ngā Tāngata Microfinance Ltd.