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Oklahoma DE Leads Educators in Assisting Kenya School for Students with Special Needs
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 6:45 AM

Brent Rempe, AVP of credit union development at WEOKIE Federal Credit, led a team of four Oklahoma educators to the Don Bosco Special School in Likuyani, Kenya, to provide seven school days of service during the annual DE Day of Service (June 12-21).

The National Credit Union Foundation encourages Credit Union Development Educators (DEs) to participate in an annual DE Day of Service during the second week of June. The purpose is for DEs to transform their training and its teachings into community service to make a difference around development issues, empower credit union members, and strengthen local communities.

Don Bosco serves students with physical disabilities in a rural village of Western Kenya. David Mategwa, board chair of Kenya Police SACCO (credit union), introduced Rempe to the school in June 2017. Rempe was one of 16 U.S. DEs who attended the first International DE Workshop in Lake Naivasha, Kenya, offered by the African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA), the continental credit union trade association in Africa. Mategwa first became a benefactor of the school by donating wheelchairs following his Africa Development Educator training.

After returning from Kenya in 2017, Rempe mobilized the DE Network and successfully crowdfunded over $10,000 USD to finish a two classroom addition at Don Bosco and reduce the cost of travel for the team of Oklahoma educators to visit the school. More than 25 DEs from across the U.S. donated to this project. Mount St. Mary High School in Oklahoma City managed donations in the U.S., while ACCOSCA managed the building project in Kenya. Classroom construction broke ground on May 1, 2018, and is now nearing completion.

Three teachers from Mount St. Mary H.S. joined the trip to Likuyani: Rachel Jones, foreign language teacher; Beth Rempe, math teacher; and Magi Whitaker, science teacher with early childhood and special education certifications. Judith Dickson, school counselor at Union Public Schools in Tulsa, also joined the project. The group was hosted by ACCOSCA, Kenya Police SACCO, and Mategwa.

The team brought five suitcases full (over 200 pounds) of instructional supplies and other donations. During the visit, Dickson and Rempe focused on working with students while Jones, Beth Rempe, and Whitaker provided professional development workshops to teachers. The group also met with administrators from Don Bosco and ACCOSCA to identify gaps at the school and help set strategic goals to address those gaps.

Whitaker’s expertise in early childhood education was especially useful in building the human capital of Don Bosco’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers.

“[Whitaker] has a passion for helping those with both specific and general learning disabilities," said Caroline Andobe, Don Bosco lead ECD teacher. "She was very creative in making relevant teaching aids that helped students learn by engaging multiple senses.”

Rempe plans to continue his fundraising efforts to benefit Don Bosco. He anticipates bringing two Don Bosco teachers to Oklahoma in April 2019 for training and school observation, finishing the addition of a third classroom, and supporting Mount St. Mary in its goal of traveling to Don Bosco in 2019 with a small group of rising and graduating seniors to enhance the global citizenship and intercultural competence of participants.

Learn more about the project and how you can support it.

About the DE Program
The mission of the Credit Union Development Education (DE) program is to promote credit unions’ social responsibility and domestic and international development through interactive adult education and professional networking. By linking credit unions past and present, the DE program brings renewed relevance to credit unions’ nine international operating principles and the philosophy of “People Helping People.”

Since 1982, more than 1,800 credit union advocates from over 36 countries have graduated from DE Training to become Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs). Once they earn their CUDE designation, people return to their jobs with a sense of personal enrichment and renewed energy to share what they have learned. This growing corps of credit union advocates devotes professional and volunteer time to spreading the credit union message to audiences throughout the world.

Learn more about the DE program.