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Select Encompass establishes the Australian Mutuals Foundation

As part of our commitment to social responsibility and in support of the ideals that the mutual industry is built upon, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Australian Mutuals Foundation (AMF) in which Select Encompass established.

The AMF is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

The primary purpose of the AMF is to provide a vehicle for Select Encompass Credit Union and other mutuals to assist needy children in Australia, and to alleviate poverty in some of the poorest communities in South East Asia and the Pacific by creating sustainable cooperative financial organisations. The AMF will also provide a facility for Select Encompass members and the general public to accept donations when a natural disaster is declared in Australia, South East Asia, or the South Pacific.

Australian Domestic Activities 

The AMF’s domestic activities will provide financial support for programs that assist children and youth who are at risk of abuse or neglect, or who are disadvantaged by lack of housing, medical care or education.

Barnardos Australia

After considering a number of worthwhile projects the AMF has agreed to partner with Barnardos Australia for the next three years. Barnardos is Australia’s leading child protection charity providing foster care and children’s family and youth services. Barnardos Australia believes that many children become abused and neglected when parents do not have the resources to raise children. They are often stressed by poverty, social isolation, mental illness, violence in families or drug and alcohol usage. Barnardos programs directly improve the lives of abused and neglected children.

The AMF also supports Barnardos Reconnect Program which is a project aimed at assisting disadvantaged children and youth in the greater Sydney area who are vulnerable and isolated, and experiencing homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse and breakdown in family relationships.

 

From the 1 January 2017, the AMF has agreed to fund Barnardos activities with $100,000 per year for three years. This commitment would not be possible without the financial support from Select Encompass Credit Union. The AMF is now one of the top 10 supporters of Barnardos Australia.

International Activities

The AMF’s international activities are intended to provide financial support to programs that encourage the growth of sustainable cooperative financial systems, using the cooperative credit union model, for developing countries in South East Asia and the South Pacific.

International Credit Union Development Programs

The credit union cooperative model aims to provide a structure for the provision of basic banking services, and education in the value of regular saving and the wise use of credit. The AMF plans to provide financial support to activities conducted by the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU). The Asian Confederations of Credit Unions (ACCU) represents credit unions/co-operatives which have over 31 million members.

ACCU presently delivers credit union development programs in Laos, Myanmar and Bhutan.

Laos – (with financial support from ten Australian mutuals and the Rabobank Foundation) The development of twenty-five credit unions in northern Laos to provide affordable banking services and financial literacy skills to some of Asia’s poorest communities. There are 10,000 saving members, with 35% of these being women. The ACCU project aims to improve financial outcomes and lift communities out of poverty, and assist with staff training programs, policies and processes to ensure a robust foundation for growth and development.

Myanmar – (with support of United Nations Capital Development Fund UNCDF) twenty five new and existing savings and credit cooperatives have been formed or strengthened, with a total outreach of 50,000 savers, of whom at least 50% are women, and at least 50% are in rural areas.

Bhutan – (with support from ten Australian Mutuals) This project is in its infancy and is designed to enable rural communities to have access to affordable financial services to improve the quality of their lives by the promotion and development of the first credit cooperatives in Bhutan. The potential outreach for the project is 50,000 savers.

                

 

For more information on the Australian Mutuals Foundation including how to donate, visit www.australianmf.org

 

Case Study: Chan – To Save is to Build Wealth for a Better Future

The credit union concept was not at all well known among the youth of Luangnamtha province, until a village meeting was convened in 2010 by the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions and the Khonchan Credit Union. One of the attendees was Chan Thippakeo, a government employee at the district advertising office.

Chan learnt that the mission and the work of the credit union is to provide a young independent working woman like herself access to financial service. Born into a family of five and being the oldest child, Chan carries the family responsibility on her back. Her dream, simple enough, is to build a good life where her career can financially support both herself and family members when needed.

This is exactly how credit union has come into Chan’s life. Over 6 years of being a member at her credit union, Chan grew to appreciate the value of regular saving.

“To save is to build wealth, and I’m proud that my effort of saving 50,000 kips (AUD$8.50) monthly has awarded me with a sense of security as well as it has strengthened my capability to financially support my family in case of emergency,” said Chan Thippakeo.

As a happy member, she encouraged her younger siblings who are still students to become members of credit union where they can start developing the habit of thrift at young age, solely to pave way for a future where becoming “financially independent” is possible to achieve.