World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year. It raises awareness across the world and in the community about the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. It is a day for people to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
David Williams Fund
The David Williams Fund was established in 1986 to provide emergency relief to people living with HIV. Over the years the fund has expanded its services to offer financial counselling, study assist and the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) to their clients. The fund relies upon donations.
By taking a holistic approach and providing clients access to financial counselling as well as access to NILS, the David Williams Fund has seen some great outcomes.
For Marcus, NILS officer with the David Williams Fund, assisting a client to completely turn around his financial situation showed the value of the program.
“I had a client come in who had previous experience with payday loans. We had a look at his finances and we saw that if he was able to avoid payday loans and rent-to-buy he could actually afford to have a NILS loan and buy the products he needed brand new. If he hadn’t come in to see us, he would still be paying off a payday loan today. It is great to know that he ended up in a much better position than when he first came to visit us.”
Marcus has worked to provide many loans, but his joy over seeing clients walk away with brand new items never lessens.
“It’s always great to see that, with NILS, our clients can walk away with exactly what they wanted. Being able pick the colour, size and shape, plus being financially stronger, it’s like a cherry on top of the cake. When they’ve gone out, picked something for themselves and come back and they finally get it, I love witnessing the excitement.”
“I do love the empowerment side of things. Because I’ve been there and when all you have are second hand things and hand-me-downs, being able to get something brand new is a distant dream, something that happens to other people.”
Bobby Goldsmith Foundation
The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation is Australia’s longest-running HIV charity. Founded in 1984, it undertakes a range of support and interventions that address key determinants of poor health outcomes for people living with HIV (PLHIV), including long-term social and economic poverty.
Sue Wood has been NILS officer at the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation on and off for over eight years. In that time she’s seen the impact a small loan can have.
“NILS is a great program for people on low income to get the simple things everyone needs, like a bed and a washing machine, as people living on low incomes don’t always have access to other financial products.”
“NILS enables clients to actually purchase new items, which last a lot longer and come with things like a warranty. Buying something brand new is something that everyone should be able to experience, including those who live on a low income … They’re always so happy when they get their items!”
But the new product isn’t the only valuable part of the NILS program. Sue believes that going through a budget with clients is one of the most impactful parts of the program.
“When you sit down and do a budget with them, you work to set up a habit of planning further ahead than the next fortnight. I think doing the budget with NILS is extremely helpful.”
And, of course, there are those clients whose stories have stuck with Sue.
“I supported a client to access a NILS loan for a new bed. She was someone who managed her money really well, which she wanted and needed to do as she wished to visit her children overseas. Having access to a NILS loan and support from Bobby Goldsmith Foundation allowed this mother to buy herself a much needed bed, which she could pay off in manageable instalments while also continuing to save for a trip to visit her children.”