Community education is a core part of our work in National Traveller MABS. It plays a crucial role in establishing contact between communities experiencing poverty and services such as MABS and Citizens Information. It also enhances local services by developing an understanding of the issues experienced in the community.

National Traveller MABS supports money management community education courses by linking Traveller groups to their local MABS, and by equipping the MABS with training, resources, and culturally-appropriate materials. These courses deal with issues such as budgeting, saving and borrowing, dealing with debt, and tackling legal and illegal moneylending. We always advocate the use of materials which have been designed for working with Travellers, such as A Way of Life and Overcoming Illegal Debt.

TravAct, North Dublin

Between 2017 and 2018, National Traveller MABS organised five money management courses around the country. The first of these was undertaken by TravAct Northside Traveller Support Group in April 2017, and was facilitated by Susan Grimes of Dublin North East MABS. TravAct provides support, development, advocacy, and information services to the Traveller Community in North Dublin. Eleven staff members completed the training and were presented with certificates to mark their achievement. The knowledge developed and information gathered during the course can now be applied to TravAct’s work with the local Traveller community, and TravAct can refer people to Dublin North East MABS. Brigid Nevin of TravAct said that the course was “very good and very helpful, and gave us an insight into illegal money lending in the community.”

Meath Primary Health Care Project

Eight staff members from Meath Primary Health Care Project were the next team to recieve certificates for completing their community education course facilitated by Meath MABS. Patricia Marley of Meath MABS, who faciliated the course said: “The community education was a great success. It is a brilliant way of developing our on-going relationship with the local Primary Health Care group. The programme is learner centred. It enables participants build on first- hand relevant life experiences so as to develop lifelong skills. It is envisaged that the participants will pass on their knowledge to the wider community helping to alleviate issues related to debt and over indebtedness.”

Primary Health Care Teams in Wicklow, Clondalkin, and West Limerick

In 2018, three groups have undertaken the MABS money management community education course: Wicklow Primary Health Care, facilitated by Sheila Kavanagh and Anne Dixon of Arklow MABS; Clondalkin Traveller Development Project, facilitated by Annette McMahon of Dublin 10&20 MABS and Clondalkin MABS; and Newcastle West Primary Health Care, facilitated by Sian Crowley of National Traveller MABS, with support from Limerick MABS.

Sheila Kavanagh and Anne Dixon, from Arklow MABS said:

“We found the participants in the group to be very willing to share the experiences and values of their way of life. There was huge evidence of support from each participant to those in the Traveller community, a great comradery within the group, and a willingness and desire to share their knowledge and experience – and to take ours on board.”

Speaking about the MABS course in Clondalkin Traveller Development Project, a Primary Health Care Worker said that:

"the course was very well organised, and went into great detail about money management and budgeting. We know we can go to MABS now if we need it.”

National Traveller MABS were delighted to support this work by linking Traveller organisations with their local MABS, and providing MABS with training and educational materials. Community education is an essential component in the services offered by MABS and work like this broadens awareness of the benefits of engaging with the Money Advice and Budgeting Services. National Traveller MABS are happy to organise this communty education course for any Traveller group that would like to do it. Please get in touch with us if you are interested in finding out more information.

Clondalkin Traveller Development Project
Published: 06 November 2018