As we reported on last month, earlier in the year Cufa hosted some staff members from Teachers Mutual Bank (TMB), one of our biggest supporters, to participate in a study trip. The trip comprised of activities that varied from cultural and historical activities to visiting our projects and meeting some of the participants whose lives have been changed for the better.
The trip was action-packed and started off by learning about some of the history of Cambodia with visits to the Killing Fields and Toul Sleng (Genocide Museum). Once there was a general understanding of the need for Cufa’s work, Cufa staff showed them around some of the projects. These included the Children’s Financial Literacy program where they were able to see classes, a Credit Union Development savings bank visit and seeing a Village Entrepreneur’s business.
The latter days were more hands-on as TMB staff were able to interact with the kids of the Children’s Financial Literacy program, discuss financial concepts and products in the village banks or just listen to some of the amazing stories.
Like all amazing trips, it had to come to an end eventually and all of the Cufa staff involved were grateful to have been able to host the group.
We caught up with some of the TMB staff and this is what they had to say of their time in Cambodia…
Jade Coleman – Business Relationship Manager
“I really wanted to see firsthand how Teachers Mutual Bank’s funds donated to Cufa help and benefit people’s lives in poor communities. Often you hear about it but to see it in real life is a wonderful opportunity and I was so grateful to have been selected by my employer.”
Trent Bennett – Systems Accountant
“Because of my accounting background, I found the Credit Union Development project the most fascinating. I was really inspired by the encounters I had with the savings bank staff and volunteers and the follow-up conversations with Cufa staff afterwards. I was impressed by the slow-burn efforts of Cufa in villages to communicate and educate villagers about a radical new concept – placing your savings into the custody of a bank. I’d forgotten how radical that concept is. I was inspired by Cufa’s conviction and the part that these customer-owned savings banks have to play in ending poverty. How audacious to believe that the fortunes of Cambodia and its people can be shaped, one savings account at a time! But it’s begun, and I see signs that it’s working. For me, that was so very inspiring.”
Joyce Tuioti – Supervisor – Credit Control
“Cambodia was more beautiful then I had expected. I loved meeting the people and visiting the schools. The tours were very informative and very emotional, but I loved it. The Village Entrepreneur program was the most interesting for me because it showed that people require assistance through sponsorship and donations which makes a real difference in people’s lives. We were happy to see their village in practice and appreciated what they shared with us, things like the pottery, vegetable farms, shops etc.”