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January 01 2008

The South Africa's Capital City Brings U.S. Based NGO Operation HOPE on Board to Empower Youth, Women and the Indigent

Silver Rights nonprofit extends financial literacy empowerment to Tshwane

TSHWANE, SOUTH AFRICA — OCTOBER 9, 2008 – The city of Tshwame continues to establish its identity as a progressive municipality, as Executive Mayor Dr. Gwen Ramokgopa announced a partnership with financial literacy empowerment organization Operation HOPE (HOPE) to encourage opportunities for youth and women over the next four years. An official signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was held today at Munitoria [Executive Mayor’s office].

The primary objective of the partnership is to deliver, promote, and assess “silver rights” – financial literacy, dignity, and entrepreneurship education through HOPE’s international arm, HOPE Global Initiatives. Through this partnership, members from the organization’s trained volunteer unit, HOPE Corps, will teach students the Banking on Our Future, South Africa curriculum.

“The City is honoured by the interest Operation HOPE is taking in launching this programme in Tshwane to address the plight of our poor people in this City,” said Dr. Ramokgopa.

The award winning program, Banking on Our Future, is a recipient of the 11th John Sherman Award for Financial Education given by the U.S. Treasury Department. It is also the recipient of the Oprah Winfrey “Use Your Life” Award, which was accompanied by a $100,000 cash grant to expand work in financial literacy education for youth.

HOPE, already well established in the Gauteng province has relationships in place with Citi, Deutsche Bank, the International Finance Corporation (member of the World Bank Group), Standard Bank and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. Combined they have committed to invest $1 million (U.S.) and to recruit, train and mobilize more than 250 local professional HOPE Corps volunteers in a new and innovative private/public partnership to teach a minimum of 50,000 South African youth and young adults in financial literacy, dignity and entrepreneurship in South Africa. To date HOPE has already trained more than 5,000 students and recruited over 220 HOPE Corps members in South Africa alone.

“The City of Tshwane is making history today, something which will have a lasting impact for years to come,” noted Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Hope Bryant. “Operation HOPE is pleased to bring our Silver Rights Movement of empowerment to its youth, women and the indigent. We look forward to the opportunity to inspire and educate these students using our Banking on Our Future program, focused on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. By giving them a hand up, and not a hand out, our vision for the City of Tshwane is to show them the dignity that comes from doing for self and for them to see what they truly already are – rich in spirit.”

Tshwane is a progressive city, already slated as one of the nine host cities for the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Its charm lies in a harmonious blend of African roots and many cultural traditions. It is hoped that the multidimensional initiative will provide a platform for sparking economic growth and development in the city and surrounding underserved townships.

It has large poor communities which are decimated by prevailing unfavourable socio-economic conditions. The City’ current Indigent register exceeds 44,000 registered indigent people and the number of registered indigents is growing at an alarming rate. To address this poverty scourge, the City needs to plan active interventions which will have a lasting impact on our attempts in turning this tide.

As part of its array of interventions within the Tshwane economy, the Economic Development Department identified financial literacy and entrepreneurial training as a key intervention strategy targeting the poor, indigent and destitute. Financial literacy training has proved that it has an impact on poor communities not understanding the systems which makes market economies function. This prevents poor people from becoming casualties of free market societies, but instead gains knowledge and understanding of such systems and the opportunities they offer.

The Enterprise Development Section of the Economic Development Department has identified and invited Operation Hope as an international partner with the relevant experience and background to assist the Municipality to address this enormous existing need.

One of the major challenges of the City would be to make the concept of a developmental state a reality to the people of Tshwane. The poor sections of our society need to experience the impact of developmental programmes otherwise frustrations will become a growing concern.