Gatherings bring into focus the importance of respect and self-esteem

Cape Town, South Africa – July 2, 2010 – World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and Founder of leading financial literacy empowerment nonprofit organisation, Operation HOPE, John Hope Bryant led a series of Global Dignity (GD) events in Cape Town and Johannesburg this week.

HOPE educated some 1 500 children over five days. The programme started at the South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (SABCOHA) Holiday Camp – a school holiday care programme for children in under-resourced areas around the country during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup – and ended with dignity sessions in Soweto, Johannesburg.

“Learning dignity is the first step to ensuring that all people recognise the sanctity of life – regardless of ethnic background or financial status,” said Bryant. “Planting this small seed within students early, will hopefully lead to a more progressive society in which dignity and respect for all is the standard.”

The Global Dignity project and the Dignity curriculum was developed through the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders programme in 2006 by Bryant, along with co-founders H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Philosopher and Professor Pekka Himanen. Dignity was then incorporated into the Banking on Our Future South Africa programme as the empowerment module of the curriculum and approved by provincial and national South African Departments of Education. The sessions are designed to teach youth how to live a dignified life and empower them with the tools to get there.

Global Dignity Day is celebrated worldwide annually on October 20th. The movement is supported by HOPE through its international division, HOPE Global Initiatives.

During this visit, Bryant spoke on a panel at the Global Forum hosted by Fortune, Time and CNN in Cape Town. HOPE also celebrated its third year in SA, recognising South African partners and HOPE Corps volunteers and announced its goal to educate one million youth, women and families by 2020.

HOPE private sector partners include the Citi Foundation, Deutsche Bank, International Finance Corporation, and the UPS Foundation. HOPE public sector partners include the Gauteng and Western Cape Departments of Education and the City of Tshwane. HOPE non-government organisation partners include the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Peace Corps South Africa, Clinton Global Initiatives, the Banking Association South Africa, the South African Coalition on HIV/AIDS, CIDA University, The Tertiary School of Business Administration, and the Anglican Youth of Southern Africa.

The visit included a historic signing of a memorandum of understanding with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on behalf of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

HOPE has educated over 15 000 youth and women since June 2007 with over 700 HOPE Corps volunteers in seven South Africa provinces.

About Operation HOPE, Inc.
Founded in 1992, Operation HOPE is a Los Angeles-based global empowerment nonprofit and social investment organisation providing financial literacy, credit counseling and management, computer training, lending services and inspiration to the economically disadvantaged. Operation HOPE has assumed the responsibility of piloting the Silver Rights Movement towards making free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities. HOPE Global Initiatives is the international division of Operation HOPE dedicated to promote and advocate the benefits of economic empowerment as a tool for vastly improving the quality of life in developing countries, with a particular focus on developing countries on the African continent. The role has expanded to serve underserved communities throughout the world. For more about HOPE and its programmes to empower the underserved, visit www.operationhope.org.


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