Financial abuse of partners (particularly those without employment and more often than not women victims) is rampant in the community and often not solved holistically.
We’ve been following the journey of Tasnia Alam and Fariha Chowdhury as they applied for our Crescent Community Grants in 2021. Since then they have progressed rapidly in building out a high impact product set to support financial abuse victims and we are really proud of how far they have come to solve for this very important and often overlooked area which impacts the lives of many women.
With your support they will be able to build out their products and serve many more victims of financial abuse in Australia.
Tell us a little about yourself and why you do what you do?
Arise Foundation Australia is a not-for-profit organisation created in 2021 by Tasnia Alam Hannan and Fariha Chowdhury.
We’re raising funds for financial abuse survivors. Financial abuse is when someone seizes control of your money, a type of domestic violence or modern slavery.
Arise provides sustainable financial freedom to survivors through no-interest loans, employment programmes, job placements, and access to a professional network of service partners and mentors.
Both of us know someone who has been harmed by financial abuse and we learned that it’s an ‘invisible’ type of violence that isn’t often talked about, and as a result, survivors don’t have many resources or much support to get back on their feet and break the cycles of violence and abuse. We want to address this gap in survivor services, and combine our 30 years of financial, legal, and policy experience in multinational and government organisations to form Arise Foundation Australia.
Financial abuse is most often a form of family or domestic violence, and describes situations where an abuser – often an intimate partner – takes control of someone’s finances and financial decision-making to maintain power in a relationship. Without access to financial resources, survivors of abuse can find it impossible to leave abusive situations and seek safety and a new beginning. Financial abuse can fall under modern slavery, and is a hidden epidemic in Australia.
Arise Foundation is dedicated to empowering survivors of financial abuse and creating sustainable pathways to their financial freedom. Arise Foundation partners with women living in Australia who have been impacted by financial abuse and support them to achieving sustained financial freedom. We do this through providing no-interest loans, in-house employment-ready programmes to support survivors as they enter or re-enter the workforce, followed by job placements, as well as access to a professional network of service partners and mentors.
What is the cause you are raising funding for today?
Arise Foundation is raising funds for our Pre Employment Ready Program (PreERP) and Employment Ready Program (ERP). The PreERP is for women who are not yet proficient in English or with digital skillsets. This program is designed as a stepping stone to the ERP. Our ERP supports the Arise women to gain self-confidence, provides financial literacy to give them the tools to make effective financial decisions, and prepares them for the Australian workforce with soft skills in communication, critical thinking and resilience. Both courses are conducted over 8 weeks by dedicated subject-matter professionals, and our outcome is to place the Arise women in paid employment at the conclusion of the ERP.
Why does raising funds for this matter to you and the organisation you are supporting?
Arise Foundation’s aim is to empower the Arise woman through sustainable financial freedom. Our work also provides long-term social economic benefits by creating jobs and reducing welfare costs, as well as breaking intergenerational cycles of violence. We are inspired by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus’ vision to ‘bank on the un-bankable’ and help our clients achieve equal access and fair opportunity for a bright future.
How will the funds you raise measurably impact lives? and how many lives?
Up to 16% of women in Australia experience financial abuse within their lifetime (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety, Australia, 2016). This means more than 4 million women are impacted by financial abuse, and the number is even higher when we include their children as well. 100% of all funds raised will go towards Arise Foundation’s programs. Every individual placed into a job through our programs is one person empowered to start a career and sustainably break the cycles of family violence.
What’s distinct about the organisation’s work?
There are various organisations and services available for survivors of domestic and family violence and modern slavery at Crisis stage. But what happens next? How are survivors supported to ensure they are not left homeless or return to abusive situations due to a lack of support, resources and options? That’s where Arise Foundation comes in, at the Recovery stage.
What makes us distinct is that we are positioned at the Recovery stage. In order to help survivors, avoid homelessness or returning to abusers, we provide support, resources and options that are often unavailable for survivors who might lack financial literacy, access to a line of credit, or transferable employment skills due to years of financial abuse. With our no-interest loans, we offer interim financial support to help survivors and their dependents get back on their feet. Our guaranteed employment for Arise women through our job-focused, work integration model and one-stop central hub of service partners provide accessible options, resources and skills to help survivors sustain their own economic recovery and financially-liberated futures. Arise Foundation also aims to work in the prevention space by creating awareness of financial abuse through education and advocacy.
Why should we support this cause as opposed to all the other important causes that the world is suffering from now?
Arise Foundation’s cause provides tangible success and guaranteed economic security for survivors. We provide long-term economic benefits by creating jobs and reducing welfare costs, as well as breaking intergenerational cycles of violence.
We are part of the local communities that we work with, and we strongly believe that supporting survivors of domestic and family violence should be the concern of whole communities if we are going to move the needle towards prevention rather than reaction. We believe collaboration and partnership with non-profit organisations, local communities, with support from government and private corporations are key to our success.
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Talal currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. He also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and Chairman of the Australian Arab Dialogue. Talal has also served on the Australia Post, Board of Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations. In an executive capacity, Talal spent 10 years at PwC as a director and strategist, and at investment firm Babcock & Brown in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia, Platinum Hearing and Star Transport Australia.