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Issue 28 - February 2017

Postcard from... Victoria


Born and raised in Delhi, Rachna Bowman came to Australia from India in 2001 for university. Now a working mother of two young children she holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Swinburne University, and came to financial counselling in 2011 after many years in retail banking. Completing her Diploma of Financial Counselling in 2012 Rachna couldn’t wait to sink her teeth into the work.

Rachna’s passion for financial counselling, in particular her desire to assist clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, saw her join the Financial Resilience Program at South East Community Links (SECL) in the southern region of Melbourne in 2014. Along with financial counselling, SECL delivers a wide range of services, including: emergency relief, casework, housing support, youth and family support services, resettlement services for refugees and asylum seekers, financial capability assistance and volunteer programs.

“I was really looking for an opportunity to use my bilingual skills, working with members of the community who struggle to access services because of their limited English.” Rachna said. The community SECL serves is among the most diverse in Victoria, with over 50 languages spoken in the City of Greater Dandenong alone.

Rachna is a multi-skilled financial counsellor, working alongside clients experiencing financial difficulty, problem gambling and financial abuse as a result of family violence. At the annual conference for the Victorian financial counselling sector last year, Rachna was extremely proud to support one of her long term clients, a survivor of family violence, to speak up about what happened to her. Sayema’s story was hard to hear, and extremely powerful for everyone present. Sayema was also the 2016 recipient of SECL’s ‘Change Maker’ award.

This award is presented by SECL to clients who contribute to positive change through personal advocacy about issues impacting the community. Sayema’s resilience to make changes in her own life following severe physical and financial abuse, along with finding her voice through telling her story, made her a worthy recipient.

Watch this short video to hear about Sayema's interaction with SECL. Although unidentified, Rachna has a cameo in the clip.

FOS welcomes Rachna as the newest member of the Consumer Liaison Group.