Located in central Victoria, Bendigo is a charming, thriving regional city home to more than 100,000 residents which was once the centre of Victoria’s gold rush. Today it is also home to a growing community of Karen people, an ethnic minority from Myanmar.
Most Karen refugees come from small mountain villages. That’s not quite Bendigo but life in a beautiful regional city surrounded by forest and farms is more suitable for Karen people than life in a huge, densely urbanised city like Melbourne or Sydney.
Around Bendigo, older Karen refugees who have problems learning English have been able to get work on farms, giving their lives dignity and meaning as well as income.
For so many of us, buying a home is an aspiration for many and it is usually the largest financial investment a person will make in their lifetime. Karen people are no different and over the years I’ve been working at the ANZ Bendigo branch, I’ve been fortunate to help many members of the community buy a home.
For some members of the growing Karen community however, home ownership was something that seemed impossible, due to language barriers, limited resources and not having a clear knowledge of the process involved.
That’s where ANZ has been ablate provide support to the community through the Home Loan Introducer program, where any funds ANZ make are donated back to the Karen community.
Home ownership and improved financial literacy has become a reality, with the program helping nearly 30 members of the Karen community so far.
These people have worked hard to be where they are now so it’s great to see they are now in a position to walk into a branch and apply for a home loan.