A group of U.S. credit unions and supporting organizations have come together to create prosthetic hands to help the recovery process of Afghan civilians who, after years of armed conflict, are finding it difficult to support themselves and their families.
With the World Council of Credit Unions' assistance, the group will soon be distributing the prosthetics through Afghanistan's Islamic Investment and Finance Cooperatives.
The Credit Union Helping Hands program, launched by the CU Philanthropy Group, has been assembling and distributing prosthetic hands for those in need through Rotary International for three years
The group is working with the IIFC to plan the delivery of prosthetic hands to those in need in northern Afghanistan. Victims who register with IIFCs will receive the hands free-of-charge and do not need to be IIFC members.
"The goal of credit unions is to foster economic empowerment and growth for their members, thereby helping strengthen the communities in which they live," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. "We are pleased that IIFCs in Afghanistan have found yet another way to help meet what for some members is their most critical need."
Past credit union clients of CUPG's consulting services have assembled the prosthetic hands as part of teambuilding and process improvement exercises with the firm, according to Frank Hackney, founder of the Washington-based philanthropy and consulting group. Participants from about 25 credit unions have already assembled as many as 100 hands.
Last year, Rotary International arranged for several IIFC volunteers, members of social organizations from across Afghanistan, to travel to Ahmedabad, India, for prosthetic-fitting training sessions. Credit union consulting firm DDJ Myers financed the trip. Those volunteers, in turn, will train other volunteers throughout Afghanistan to fit the prosthetic hands on their recipients.
An initial shipment of 50 hands will be shipped during the first quarter of 2012 once the initial demand has been determined, Hackney said.