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Cigna gives a helping hand

6 December 2018

Cigna introduced a Community Ambassador Fellowship programme in 2017. This programme offers eligible employees an opportunity to take a sabbatical-style paid leave from work to improve life in communities where they work and live by supporting projects that exemplify Cigna’s mission. Participants are selected through an application process.

In 2018, nine employees were selected for a one to three-month fellowship. They received full salary and benefits plus up to 20,000 USD to support their community work.

Francine Caulfield was one of the selected applicants. As part of her programme, Francine partnered with the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation, a non-profit, and Cigna offices in the USA, Indonesia, Kenya, and Belgium to make prosthetic hands, find recipients in need and distribute the prosthetics in Indonesia and Kenya.

In June, 40 colleagues in Cigna International Organisations & Africa’s office in Belgium helped Francine build prosthetic hands for people in Kenya.

In October, Francine partnered with Cigna’s office in Kenya to distribute the prosthetics. They connected her with the United Nations to locate individuals in need. The United Nations High Commission of Refugees allowed her access to two refugee camps. She also partnered with a local Rotary Club who connected her to a school for disabled children and community members.

Francine was able to give prosthetic hands to approximately 200 people across multiple locations in Kenya and Indonesia, including at two UNON refugee camps. Elizabeth, age eight, was one of the recipients. She lost her hand at a very young age due to a gunshot wound. She currently lives at Kakuma, a UN refugee camp near the South Sudanese border.

As a token of her appreciation, Francine brought the Cigna offices in Indonesia and Kenya an autographed copy of David Cordani’s recently-released book, The Courage to Go Forward about the power of micro-communities and how small groups can work together do amazing things. Since her fellowship ended in November, additional prosthetic hand fittings have occurred in both Indonesia and Kenya.