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CAPE TOWN, South Africa - (Business Wire) A ground-breaking agreement designed to empower two-million youth in six countries in southern Africa in dignity, financial literacy and entrepreneurship was signed by the Anglican Youth of Southern Africa, a division of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and Operation HOPE (HOPE). As part of the master agreement, a partnership was also created with Global Dignity, an initiative of the Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGL).  The founders of Global Dignity are HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland and John Hope Bryant, all YGLs.

The signing, by Bishop Funginkosi Mbhele and John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and attended by Archbishop Tutu, is part of celebrations surrounding the third anniversary of the introduction of HOPE’s Silver Rights Movement for economic empowerment to the African continent.

“Understanding that basic financial literacy is a skill desperately needed not only here in South Africa but the entire world, Operation HOPE is committed to making a difference. Understanding the ‘language of money’ is a key step to living a dignified life,” said Bryant, who also is author of business best seller, “LOVE LEADERSHIP, A New Way to Lead in a Fear Based World (Jossey-Bass).”

“We are announcing our commitment to expanding our work in South Africa with the goal of educating a million people in the next 10 years.”

The signing ceremony took place in Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s offices in Cape Town. The agreement involves Operation HOPE’s international arm, HOPE Global Initiatives. The initiative promotes and advocates the benefits of economic empowerment as a tool for vastly improving the quality of life in developing countries and underserved communities worldwide.

In terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed, Operation HOPE will facilitate the delivery of its financial literacy, dignity and entrepreneurship programme, Banking on Our Future, to the Anglican Church of Southern Africa youth groups.

The Anglican Youth of Southern Africa will assist HOPE in identifying youth for and provide introductions of HOPE services and personnel to Anglican churches and officials. Together, HOPE and the Anglican Church will help the overall promotion, facilitation and participation of these programmes across South Africa.

After the signing ceremony, Bryant and Tutu conducted a special session with a group of students aimed at inspiring them to think globally and helping them recognise every person's common need for respect and dignity.

Operation HOPE, an organisation focused on bringing “the language of money” and the message of empowerment and entrepreneurship to disadvantaged individuals, celebrates its third year this June of delivering financial literacy to South African youth and women.

In June 2007, HOPE launched its five-year commitment to recruit 250 HOPE Corps volunteers and to teach 50,000 South Africans, primarily women and youth, about financial literacy, dignity and entrepreneurship. Since that time, the programme has successfully educated over 15,000 individuals in seven provinces and recruited nearly 700 volunteers to assist.

HOPE has expanded its volunteer program in South Africa to include a Global HOPE Corps. Interested volunteers from the United States travelling to SA will have an opportunity to empower youth and women through the Banking on Our Future programme. Volunteers will instill learners with a sense of dignity, through financial education and entrepreneurship. For more information about HOPE Corps and volunteering in the United States or South Africa, please contact Shannon Campbell at shannon.campbell@operationhope.org.

Bryant, who was invited to speak at the Global Forum, hosted by Fortune, TIME, and CNN this week, also sits on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council for Financial Empowerment. He has been a longtime voice for the underserved in the United States and around the world. His efforts led to a role as vice chairman of the bi-partisan US President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, appointed by then President George W. Bush in 2008.

His efforts have also been highlighted by Congresswoman Diane E. Watson, Ph.D, in House Resolution 65, recognising work to "raise awareness about the importance of financial and economic literacy," particularly in these economic times. Operation HOPE, has empowered more than one million people with "Silver Rights," helping them to move up the ladder to the next level of financial independence.

Also present for the historic signing of the agreement between Operation HOPE and the Anglican Church was Mr. Sean Cleary, chairman of the Operation HOPE Global Advisory Board, and Mayor Herman Bailey, chairman of the Operation HOPE Board of the Western Cape.

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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