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Connexus : Issue 39
www.abacus.org.au 49 Ever y day, Australian credit unions change the lives of people they have never met. They are bringing positive change to families and communities in the Asia-Pacific who live on just a few dollars a day and often don’t have enough money to buy food and medicine. Take Chhor n, for example. He’s a member of Khemera Sav ings Bank in Cambodia’s Battambang province. Without the credit union, Chhorn’s community would have nowhere safe to save their money. They would have nowhere to take out loans without being forced to agree to the astronomically high interest rates of unscr upulous money lenders. Before Chhorn became a member of the credit union, he struggled to provide for his family and had to consider taking his children out of school to ensure ever yone could eat. Since CUFA came into his community, life has changed for the better. He has taken out a loan of $230 to help him open a small restaurant selling beef skewers and duck eggs. With the credit union’s support, he has lear nt bookkeeping skills and has improved his business practices. His income has incr eased to the point where he can keep his children at school and regularly put a little money aside for the future. Chhor n’s stor y would be ver y different without the help of generous and socially aware Australian credit unions which donate to CUFA ever y year. It’s a stor y repeated throughout the Asia-Pacific in countries such as Cambodia, Fiji and Timor Leste where CUFA reached out to 3.9 million people last year. The United Nations has declared Building on a few dollars a day With its donations from Australian credit unions, CUFA helped alleviate poverty for nearly four million people in other countries last year. By STEPHANIE BROWN 2012 the International Year of Co- operatives. The declaration recognises the value of what credit unions and other cooperatives bring to communities, especially in helping to allev iate pover ty in many poor countries around the world. It is great to know that Australian credit unions are doing just that through their suppor t of CUFA. Stephanie Brown is a CUFA project officer. his income has increased to the point where he can keep his children at school. Children in Timor leste. Chhorn, a member of Khemera Savings Bank in Cambodia, with his son. CEO louise Petschler talks to students during her visit to Cambodia.