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This story is a part of

Human Needs

This story is a part of

Human Needs

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Most of the original Bangla-Pesa notes were confiscated by police when Ruddick and others were arrested. Since then, the community has had to print new notes with holograms and security seals to prepare to relaunch the program.

Credit:

Ryan Delaney

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    Emma Onyango sells vegetables at a stand on the main street of the Bangladesh slum in Kenya. She's one of the founding members of the Bangla-Pesa exchange.

    Credit:

    Valerie Hamilton

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    Bangladesh is an informal community on the outskirts of Mombasa, Kenya. Residents say its name comes from the Bangladeshi man who used to own the land. People here live on a little more than a dollar a day, scraping together a living at tiny businesses.

    Credit:

    Valerie Hamilton

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    American economist Will Ruddick and Alfred Sigo in the Mombasa offices of Koru Kenya, the NGO that administers Bangla-Pesa.

    Credit:

    Ryan Delaney

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    This is one of the small businesses accepting Bangla-Pesa for local trade.

    Credit:

    Valerie Hamilton

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    Alfred Sigo and Emma Onyango, both founding members of Bangla-Pesa, speak to a crowd of Bangladesh residents, explaining that the charges against them have been dropped and Bangla-Pesa is legal again.

    Credit:

    Valerie Hamilton

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    When the Bangla-Pesa debuted in May, local trade jumped 22 percent, according to its creators.

    Credit:

    Valerie Hamilton

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    Alfred Sigo, one of the founding members of the Bangla-Pesa, was arrested in May with Will Ruddick, Emma Onyango and three others. After four months, Kenya's public prosecutor dropped charges of bank fraud.

    Credit:

    Valerie Hamilton