Pretoria, South Africa – June 13, 2008 -- During an official signing ceremony yesterday at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, Operation HOPE and HOPE Global Initiatives (HOPE) expanded its financial empowerment and dignity initiative, Banking on Our Future, signing a Memorandum of Agreement with Peace Corps/South Africa.The partnership will enable Peace Corps Volunteers to deliver Banking on Our Future to youth and women throughout the Gauteng, Western Cape, North West, Limpopo, and Northern Cape provinces.
Peace Corps/South Africa Country Director, Gene Peuse, said, "HOPE's efforts to promote financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and dignity are in line with our work to encourage world peace and friendship. We look forward to our combined efforts to make for a better South Africa."
The Peace Corps began its work in South Africa in 1997, partnering with the department of education to strengthen teaching, learning and community service. Currently, 166 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in South Africa in the areas of education, and health and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. As the country continues to distance itself from the legacy of apartheid, the partnership with HOPE allows Peace Corps Volunteers to expand their role in economic education to help the nation's underserved build wealth and self-sufficiency. To learn more about the Peace Corps/South Africa, visit the Where Do Volunteers Go? web page.
This joint announcement comes on the heels of HOPE's one year anniversary celebration in South Africa and the expansion into the Western Cape with Minister of Education (MEC) Cameron Dugmore. HOPE’s first office was launched in Johannesburg last year on June 7, 2007, with support from Gauteng Province MEC Angelina Motshekga. To date, HOPE has recruited more than 190 HOPE Corps volunteers in South Africa and educated over 3,200 youth and young adults in the financial literacy, entrepreneurship and dignity curriculum designed to help people understand how to control and build their financial future.
HOPE South Africa Western Cape Board Chair, Herman Bailey said, "Operation HOPE and its partners commitment to empower a minimum of 50,000 youth and women and to recruit and train a minimum of 500 South African financial professionals as HOPE Corps volunteers by 2012 will greatly boost HOPE's 'silver rights' mission to eradicate poverty."
Banking on Our Future is the winner of Oprah's Angel Network Use Your Life Award and the U.S. Treasury Department's John Sherman Award for Financial Literacy Excellence. In the last 10 years, some 4,000 HOPE Corps volunteers have educated more than 280,000 youth to date.
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About Operation HOPE, Inc.
Operation HOPE (HOPE) is a leading non-profit, social investment, banking and financial literacy empowerment organization dedicated to poverty eradication worldwide. Through several global initiatives and its three principal programs: Banking on Our Future (teaching youth about becoming financially empowered), HOPE Coalition America (financial emergency preparedness and recovery), and the HOPE Center Banking Network (loans, bill pay, computer literacy, understanding banking principles), HOPE is at the forefront of a silver rights movement to make free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities. To learn more, visit www.operationhope.org.
About the Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served, including South Africa. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit www.peacecorps.gov.