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“My kids say ‘Mum owns her own business!’ — and they’re proud of it.”

Nov 25, 2023 | Debt, Relationships, Wellbeing, Whānau

Sia, a loving mother of six, remembers “looking for coins between cushions, just to buy a loaf of bread”.

Four years later — having paid-off thousands of dollars worth of personal loans with her own income, plus CAP’s free help — Sia’s whānau is financially resilient. During her CAP journey, Sia picked up a kete/basket of money tools:

“I became used to putting away money — having money for certain things — and being content”.

Nowadays, Sia describes having “abundance… not just for me and my children… but I can give to others because I have enough.” This newfound abundance prompted Sia to ask: “How can I give to others who are worse off than me?”

Freed from unmanageable debt, Sia continued to reflect on this question. Over time, an idea sparked in her mind for a new social enterprise: Weaved Mats, a business that is supporting people locally and overseas!

  • Weaved Mats sells quality woven mats at affordable prices.
  • The business provides ongoing employment to 15 weavers overseas — who were once living without running water.
  • What’s more, Sia is preventing New Zealanders from getting into debt by providing local Pasifika communities — who need mats for special whānau occasions — with quality, affordable options.

Behind the scenes: how Sia started thriving

💚 How did Sia’s journey from surviving… to thriving actually take place? And can other New Zealanders in money chaos take these practical steps with CAP too?

CAP walks alongside over 400 clients in unmanageable debt each week. The fruits of financial resilience are different for every individual and whānau. Clients’ money goals and new realities are as varied as their unique treasures and values — whether it’s purchasing new bunk beds for the kids, taking a first-ever family trip, an ability to buy gluten free bread, learning the violin, or starting a business…

Whatever it is, as CAP clients journey towards financial resilience they share two common threads:

  • Strengthening their financial position; plus
  • Strengthening their relationships with money, self, others and God.

Let’s rewind Sia’s journey to reveal why Sia’s kids are so understandably proud of their Mum….

👉 Surviving before CAP: “Is this it?”

With six tamariki, money stress weighed heavily. Committed to giving her kids the best start, Sia began to take personal loans to cover household essentials.

“My hopes were for my children, but we had nothing in the cupboard… I would tackle a bill, and then another bill would pop up… I didn’t know how to get out of it. I hated it. I wondered: is this it? Is this life?”

👉 Calling CAP: “Yeah ‘the CAP thing’, you have more life!”

A turning point came when Sia heard about a local family receiving help to clear their debt with CAP’s free Debt Help. It inspired Sia to try CAP’s confidential help service herself.

After calling CAP…

“My CAP Debt Coach came to my home. That was the best part. Usually, when you’re down and out, you don’t want to go anywhere to get help. She sat at the table and said, ‘Where’s your bills?’ I felt like ‘Finally, somebody’s here to help me!’”

After a CAP Debt Coach from the local church met with Sia in person, Sia gathered a summary of all her household’s loans and bills. This enabled CAP’s centralised team of experts to speak with Sia’s money lenders — negotiating to get unfair interest and fees written off. From there, CAP’s team tailored a budget to meet her needs, like food, power and rent.

Sia’s new CAP plan to repay her debt, using her own income, provided instant stress relief.

Yeah, ‘the CAP thing’, you have more life! A routine of having stuff sorted, you’ve got money, so you think ‘what else am I going to do?’ So, you’re left with purpose…”

👉 A strengthened relationship with money

Sia recalls a moment when a salesperson tried to rush her into a purchase and to get her to sign-up for in-store finance. “[The salesperson] tried to speed up the process of giving me money. And because she did it twice, I woke up and thought… what am I doing? [With CAP] I’ve got a roof over my head. I have gas in my petrol tank and food. I don’t need that money.”

Before walking out of the store, Sia said:

“No, sorry… I actually don’t need that money. I don’t want to get a loan.”

In practice, Sia’s strengthening relationship with money enabled Sia to navigate costly life events, without taking out unmanageable debt.

“My shopping experience changed. I’d write a list if I go to the groceries and if it’s not on special, I’ll look for the specials and then sort of compare. Like yeah, is that healthier? So, that’s a difference.”

👉 “I am the author of my story” — Sia’s strengthened relationships with self, others and God

Prior to CAP, Sia’s day-to-day was haunted by a low hum — a feeling of “lack”:

“In my mind and my health, I was pretty much trapped. I wasn’t doing anything. But home life NOW… I get to choose how it’s going to be. If it’s not going my way, I will do things to make myself feel better: by reading a book, meditating, or going to visit people. And I didn’t have that mindset before.”

CAP Debt Help is a free service, made possible by generous donors, and by partnering with local churches across Aotearoa.

Her stronger financial position provided a secure base — making it easier to connect with other people. The ball started rolling with her CAP Debt Coach: “She took a huge weight off. I had people that had my back, who believed in me.”

This spilled into stronger relationships at home too. “My kids were much happier; seeing me as a worker, getting out and having friends instead of being trapped – you know? It’s made them so much happier. Even my oldest, she’s wanting to chuck herself into things like sports.”

And Sia felt moved when her husband summed up:

“Oh, just looking around us, and what we’ve built together, and how far we’ve come.” 

👉 “Life is so much more fun, with Jesus.”

“Growing up, I was like, ‘there is no God. Why is this happening to me?’” But a change began to take place when her Debt Coach offered to pray.  

“After the prayer, it felt like God picked me up and had me in his hand. He went, ‘Finally, yes! You’ve come home!’ I started feeling happier, like I was full.”

These days, Sia’s entire family goes to church. “I cry nearly every Sunday when we’re doing worship, to be honest… at how fast God can turn someone’s life around.

Having a relationship with God is amazing. You can talk to him whenever, wherever you are. I don’t see it as just prayer, it’s a whole-of-life relationship.”

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👉 Sia’s whānau vision for the future

Coming back to her question, Sia asked God: “How can I give to others who are worse off than me?”

Her Weaved Mats business reflects a sweet spot… between her personality and where she sensed God was leading. For other clients, this sweet spot might be having savings to buy bunk beds for the kids, a family trip, tamariki starting after-school sport, taking up the violin, or sending kids to university…. 💚 The sweet spot for every CAP client arriving at financial resilience is unique, but the hallmarks of it have these factors in common:

  • A sense of hauora/wellbeing.
  • Stable housing/employment.
  • Moreover, a new kete of money tools laying foundations for impact to last across future generations.

“I am teaching [my kids] better money principles. I have savings accounts for my children. I just hope that what I’ve learned, they will be able to pick it up and do it for their families.”

Sia sums it up elegantly…

“Begin to weave, and God will give the thread.”

CAP Debt Help is a free service, made possible by generous donors, and by partnering with local churches across Aotearoa.