Financial difficulties - acting instead of resigning

Starting position and situation description
Ms. E., 21 years old, lived alone in a small apartment. She reached out to Proitera because of a debt of CHF 2000. After leaving her apprenticeship, she wanted to successfully complete the recently  started training. Her mother lived in Asia for several years; she also had very little contact with her father, who lived in Switzerland. Her older sister was her only close relative. But she was heavily burdened with small children. Ms. E. lived on her apprentice’s wage and a small pension, paid out based on her father’s disability insurance. The social assistance authority evened up the difference to subsistence level.

Request to Proitera
With her income, the debt was huge. “That is why I cannot sleep anymore. Is there a way out?”

Interventions – our counselling process

  • We consulted with the community social worker to coordinate the process. In the future, the social service will only be responsible for economic support and especially the payment of special expenses such as school fees, material costs, health insurance deductibles etc. We are responsible for help with debt and psychosocial support in the workplace.
  • The next steps at Proitera included the preparation of the budget, looking for where savings could be made and new strategies in dealing with existing money.
  • We strengthened Ms. E.’s resources by getting her to write an application for help. She described the debt trap, mentioned her contact points?? to clarify the situation, named what measures she had taken to change the situation, and asked for a partial reduction of her debts. The request was accompanied by a letter of recommendation from us.
  • The first feeling of achievement was not long in coming! Some reductions were granted.
  • E’s self-reliance had to be reinforced. With the remaining debt, a classic debt management with minimum monthly payments was made possible.
  • Her parish approved 4 installments of CHF 100 as long as Proiter gives its support.
  • Stabilising the situation was very important. In monthly meetings, budget issues were discussed and everyday questions and worries discussed.
  • After several months of waiting, Ms. E. is financially independent thanks to supplementary allowances of the compensation fund.
  • E. thanks the church, informed us that she receives the supplementary allowances and has donated the remaining CHF 200 for other people in need.

Thanks to Proitera’s knowledge, many success stories and the feeling of self-reliance produced a lot of motivation and helped Ms. E. look to the future with confidence. The debts were paid off and Ms. E. learned a lot about how to handle money. With small amounts, she saved for a language course in England. Occasionally, she would go out for a pizza and she even went to the movies with friends. She gave up smoking, not just for financial reasons. She does not need the cigarettes anymore. Ms. E. knows that she can come back to Proitera if necessary. And somehow – it seemed to the consultant – she had become strong in the past few months.