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Connexus : Issue 41
Pedal power For the women in CUFA’s latest Cambodia Leadership Challenge, every day of their epic bike ride represented the chance of a better future for hundreds of children. By Anne CAsey When you are cycling 300 kilometres in a country like Cambodia – including 13km up a sacred mountain, and carrying, dragging and wrestling your bike in a race through 2km of sand, rocks and thorny branches – it helps to remember that it’s all for a good cause. In the case of the seven women who took part in CUFA’s Cambodia Leadership Challenge in June, it was for a ver y good cause indeed. The cycling was the basis of their fundraising challenge, which they far exceeded. They were required to raise at least $3,000 each to go towards CUFA’s Children’s Financial Literacy program. Ultimately, they raised a total of $33,000 which will be used to teach 9,000 impover ished children about the benefits of saving for a brighter future. In the simplest terms, the women, went to Cambodia to see how credit unions are changing people’s lives. However, the annual Leader ship Challenge, which has been operating since 2008, involves a lot more than that suggests. It enables par ticipants to challenge themselves mentally, physically and culturally in ways that aren’t part of any standard professional development program. This year’s bike ride included visits to many of Cambodia’s most famous and beautiful temples. After completing it, the team visited the schools and homes of children involved in the literacy program and took part in teaching them how to save money. As Cheryl Negro, from Maritime Mining and Power Credit Union, explains: “One of our outings was to visit a parent and child. The little girl, Panattoni, recently par ticipated in CUFA’s Children’s Financial Literacy program. It was hard to hold back the tears when her mother spoke about how pr oud she was the day her daughter came home from school, talked about the visit from CUFA and said she wanted to start saving money straightaway. “ She now puts aside [the equivalent of] a few cents of her pocket money instead of buying lollies and the like, so she can save for school books. Panattoni wants to be a teacher when she grows up.” The Challengers then had the sombre experience of visiting the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum. After returning home, the final challenge is to complete 100 hour s of community volunteer work. CUFA would like to thank CUA, bank mecu, QTMB, My Credit Union, Maritime Mining and Power Credit Union, Sydney Credit Union and Holiday Coast Credit Union for providing this wonderful professional development oppor tunity to their staff and for supporting CUFA. Anne Casey is an education officer at CUFA. Find out more To learn more about CUFA’s professional development opportunities, visit www. cufa.com.au or contact Anne Casey on 1300 490 467 or at email@example.com Challenger Natasha Walmsley QTmB 48 Connexus COMMUNITY