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U.S. Volunteers Help Build Orphanage, SACCO in Kenya
BUSIA, Kenya (12/27/13)--Credit union employees from the U.S. recently traveled to Africa to help a foundling credit union and the community it serves--an orphanage in western Kenya.
 
Click to view larger image Volunteers from American Heritage FCU, Communicating Arts CU, Frankenmuth CU and Numerica CU discussed credit union operations with Busia (Kenya) Compassionate Savings and Credit Cooperative.
The World Council of Credit Unions and some U.S. credit unions support Busia Compassionate Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) by teaching governance, operations, loans, savings and the credit union difference to board members, volunteers and orphanage students.
 
The orphanage--Busia Compassionate Centre--houses more than 120 children who lost parents to HIV/AIDS and who are infected with the virus themselves.
 
It most recently benefited from a new playground built by the U.S. volunteers, who included Carla Altepeter, CEO, Numerica CU, Spokane Valley, Wash.; Sierra Chiesa, member services representative, Frankenmuth (Mich.) CU; Bruce Foulke, president/CEO, American Heritage FCU, Philadelphia, and World Council board member; and Hank Hubbard, president/CEO, Communicating Arts CU, Detroit.
 
Sponsored by the World Council, the project is building stability and self-sustainability for Busia Compassionate Centre. With basic needs such as food, water, education and shelter being met, the orphanage can then offer access to financial services through its SACCO.
 
Click to view larger image Hank Hubbard, president/CEO, Communicating Arts CU, helped construct the playground for an orphanage in Busia, Kenya. (Photos provided by World Council of CUs)
Busia's SACCO is one of the first in Kenya to use e-SACCO for account deposits and withdrawals through M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service, and World Council cell-phone technology.
 
International support includes food stipends, scholarships, donations of school supplies and first aid items, and funding for the construction of new facilities at the orphanage.
 
Foulke added holiday spirit during the two-week trip by dressing as Santa Claus and distributing presents to the orphans. It was his second trip to the orphanage in three years, said the newsletter from the Philadelphia-based credit union. American Heritage FCU raises funds for Busia Compassionate Care through the year.

Chiesa was selected randomly from nine candidates at Frankenmuth CU. She graduated from Frankenmuth High School in 2012 (Frankenmuth News Dec. 20).

Nearly 20 U.S. credit unions are active supporters of the orphanage.
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