WOCCU-Sponsored Kilimanjaro Climber Returns with New Outlook
Kilimanjaro Initiative Climb Benefits At-Risk Youth in East Africa
Healy summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro at Gilman's Point.
Madison, WI—Fresh from summiting
Mt. Kilimanjaro February 24-28 as part of the
Kilimanjaro Initiative Climb to benefit at-risk
youth, World Council of Credit Unions-sponsored
climber Jeff Healy has a greater sense of the
power in "people helping people."
Healy, marketing manager of Teachers Plus
Union in Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada, joined a
group of 32 at-risk youth, United Nations
employees, credit union professionals and
development workers from around the world for
the climb. The annual climb, which links young
participants to the Outward Bound program,
at-risk youth through community development
Healy with fellow youth climber Patrick, an aspiring playwright and broker for artisan friends.
"The climb fulfilled the 'yes you can do it'
part for youth, but then came the 'helping
them do it' part," Healy said. He saw the fruits
of the program when he met with youth who had
participated in it the previous two years. Healy
explained: "It wasn't just people going on
climb; it really changed lives."
He shared Bernard's story, a fellow climber
was formerly a gang member in the slums and now
employs 12 people at a metal shop. He is working
for a loan to get a lathe for the shop, which
would allow him to hire more employees. "That
$3,000 will employ probably 20 people," Healy
Healy joined a small group of people
Kilimanjaro Initiative founder, Tim Challen, and
United Nations Federal Credit Union CEO Mike
Connery on a visit to Korogocho slum near
Nairobi's city dump at the end of the trip.
There Challen discussed a youth lending idea
with an Italian priest who had been living in
Korogocho and developing youth programs there
for three years.
"I'd seen what I thought was poverty, and
we went to the slum," Healy recalled. "There was
a twisted maze of streets, rivers of sewage...
There was a physical reaction to it, not just
logical or emotional. It literally took me days
to be able to think about it without getting
upset." He was shocked to learn that close to
half of Nairobi's population lived in slums and
later discovered that one of the "outgoing,
smart, fun" youth on the climb lived in
The trip challenged Healy to reexamine his
involvement in community service beyond his
backyard. In the coming year, he hopes to expand
the charitable focus of his small credit union
and look at how a little money can make a world
of difference to someone an ocean away.
"People helping people is what it's all
said World Council CEO Pete Crear. "We are proud
to support an international community working
together and helping one another." Healy applied
for the Kilimanjaro Initiative Climb sponsorship
through the Credit Union Central of Canada.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.