Why Vijay chose to work for Good Shepherd NZ
October 26, 2021
From corporate to not-for-profit, we share Vijay’s story and the reason he made a career change.
Vijay’s experiences have shaped him to be able to support clients from different backgrounds.
Vijay says being born in Fiji, raised in New Zealand, and being gay, have helped him relate to people who feel vulnerable and on the outside.
His ability to connect with people and understand their challenges has taken him all over New Zealand, and to Australia where he worked in Melbourne and Alice Springs.
It was in Australia, when he was working for a corporate financial institution, where Vijay witnessed his place of work taking advantage of financially vulnerable people.
“Bad things happen everywhere, but it was my experience in Australia that was eye opening. There was blatant unfairness, particularly against Aboriginal people. It changed me completely. When I left that job, I was determined to work for an organisation that made a positive difference, rather than for one that exploited the gaps.”
When Vijay returned to New Zealand, he joined Good Shepherd NZ and hasn’t looked back since.
Good Shepherd NZ
Vijay has been working for us for just under two years and was one of our first Phone-Based Loan Workers.
His passion and fire for ensuring people get the support they need, as well as his enthusiasm, have been a great addition to our team.
“What I love about Good Shepherd NZ and Good Loans, is it’s centred around our clients and their wellbeing. It’s not designed to catch people out or to earn money off them because it’s not-for-profit.
Our services are there to help people understand how money works and to help people buy essential items or services that improve their day-to-day lives.”
Vijay works with clients over-the-phone to understand their unique situation, help them apply for a no or low-interest Good Loan where applicable, create a manageable repayment plan and point people in the direction of other support that’s available to them.
Client connection and motivation
Vijay’s passion for social justice and supporting people in challenging situations comes across in his work. He often receives positive messages from his clients after he has helped them – including a picture drawn by a child who was very excited about the family’s new car bought with a Good Loan.
He told us his clients are what motivates him to keep working harder to ensure people get the support they need.
“We’re still seeing constant news stories about how people are taking out loans that they can’t afford to pay back, often because they don’t think they have any other choice.”
In December 2021, there will be a new lending criteria that will make it harder for lenders to take advantage of people, and it’s something Vijay is welcoming with open arms.
Lenders will have to provide contracts in the same language that they’ve advertised in, be more transparent on fees, charges and interest and do a better job assessing whether a person can afford the loan.
Vijay believes the criteria will help more protect people, but people who are financially struggling are still vulnerable.
“If you’re struggling financially, you’re not alone. I know how easy it is to get into debt and how sometimes you just need a financial helping hand – that’s what Good Shepherd NZ is here for.
“If you need to talk to someone, just call us. We might be able to help or at least point you in the right direction of someone who can. There is no shame in asking for help and we won’t judge you because we have our own experiences as well. It’s why most of us are at Good Shepherd NZ – we know what it’s like.”
Vijay continues to work hard every day to support his clients, to find them the best options that work for them and to ensure their financial wellbeing is protected from those who seek to take advantage.
Keep up the great work Vijay.