On Tuesday October 8th 2013, Journalist and Broadcaster Vincent Browne launched a community education resource by National Traveller MABS entitled  Overcoming Illegal Debt.

The resource, which includes a short film depicting one Traveller family and their struggle with an illegal moneylender, will add to existing MABS community education resources which act as a method of debt prevention and a means to empowerment.

The St. Stephens Green Trust and the National Consumer Agency funded the development of the resource “Overcoming Illegal Debt”. Commenting on the launch, Karen O'Leary, Chief Executive of the National Consumer Agency, said,

The National Consumer Agency is delighted to be partnering with National Traveller MABS on this project. This resource is important in tackling an area of financial detriment that has serious and sometimes dangerous consequences for people.

This resource aims to prevent participants from entering into illegal debt, whilst also providing a pathway out of illegal debt, if it exists.

The resource will build on and strengthen the existing Traveller focused community education resources within MABS, such as A Way of Life, A Money Management teaching resource for Travellers.  Indeed it is recommended that Overcoming Illegal Debt   is facilitated by money advisors with groups following completion of A Way of Life Money Management Resource for Travellers. In addition to the fact that trust will have been built between participants and facilitator during prior learning, the new resource Overcoming Illegal Debt re-emphasizes the importance of the lessons learned, in terms of increasing income, reducing expenditure, generating savings and opening up affordable lines of credit. Such knowledge needs to exist to help prevent illegal debt.

Overcoming Illegal Debt will enable discussion within the Traveller Community on the issue of illegal moneylending. It will allow participants to discuss a sensitive topic in a non- personal way. The short film allows participants to discuss the issues while referring to characters in the accompanying film   A Deal’s a Deal. The story depicted in the film is specific to Travellers experience but the story itself is universal and can be used as a tool in community financial education generally

Overcoming Illegal Debt will  support Travellers in debt to illegal moneylenders and will provide alternatives to the illegal moneylender for those who could fall victim to him in the future

The resource is an additional tool for money advisors when delivering community education. It will strengthen the capacity of MABS to address this issue. October 2013

Published: 26 May 2014