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Friday, March 29, 2013

Meeting the People we Serve, Face to Face

PatrickGastonAcross the globe, Western Union helps create opportunity for underserved consumers. A Kenyan migrant worker in Austria who sends money back home to pay his child’s school tuition. A young woman in Colombia who receives monthly remittances from her sister to help get her small business up and running. An older brother in Paris who sends money home to Romania to help his younger brother learn to be a mechanic. Although separated by many miles, the needs of these people are similar. They are seeking the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their families and communities. Western Union plays an important role in helping these individuals not only survive, but thrive.

I recently visited with Western Union® employees, Agents and NGOs in several countries to learn more about their work, the obstacles that they face, and the opportunities we have to work together to engage in the important work that the Western Union Foundation is doing in the communities where we operate. Throughout the trip, I was continuously inspired by our extended Western Union family and the willingness of many to go the extra mile to help others in need. It’s this engagement and enthusiasm that truly opened my eyes to the vast potential we have to create even greater sustainable positive change in the communities we serve around the world.

On this trip, I met with more than 500 Western Union employees from Lithuania, Vienna, France and Colombia. Employees are the core of Western Union success, working hard to grow the Western Union business. They also want to touch more people and make a difference in their lives. But I found that there’s more to it – a shared sense of responsibility for the global communities where they live and work.

I also met with an Austrian Agent who has participated in the Foundation Agent Giving program for the past five years and the NGO recipient of this Agent’s support. Western Union is one of the few Fortune 500 companies that develops and nurtures relationships with its Agents, business partners and NGOs to construct programs and projects that address social and economic issues and deliver long-term positive community impact. This Agent serves many consumers who send money to Africa. By supporting this NGO, this Agent is helping on the receive side of the transaction too – by donating funds to help impoverished women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo learn to read and write, provide vocational training for students in South Sudan, and enable people in Kenya and other countries across the continent gain the skills they need to achieve a brighter future.

Throughout my trip, I learned that the Western Union Foundation is focused on the right issues, secondary and vocational education. Grants made by the Foundation are helping people develop the knowledge and skills they need to find jobs, improve their lives and achieve economic opportunity – all across the globe. We will continue to build on these efforts and invite you to join us.


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