Opportunity International

Our mission is to provide opportunities for people in chronic poverty to transform their lives. Our strategy is to create jobs, stimulate small businesses and strengthen communities among the poor. Our method is to work through sustainable local microfinance institutions that provide small business loans, savings, insurance and training. Our commitment is motivated by Jesus Christ's call to serve the poor. Our core values are respect, commitment to the poor, integrity and stewardship.
Oct 14, 2013

Your impact on Concepcion and many others like her

Following years of growth in outreach, Opportunity lost some ground in the Philippines in 2012, due to the substantial impact of two typhoons on our clients and lending portfolio. With a healthy portfolio, and every reason to be hopeful about the future in Philippines, we anticipate renewed growth in 2013. With your support we can help more people like Manila businesswoman, Concepcion*, who makes 10 types of ceramics products in her small rented shop. With the help of several Opportunity loans, Concepcion purchased clay, paint and equipment such as a mixing machine and rented a larger shop. She now employs seven workers and produces an inventory of hundreds of products, including delicate bowls, colorful mugs and decorative statuary. She sells her work in boutiques and shopping malls, as well as exports it to the U.S., Australia and Germany. The increased revenue from her business as a result of her loans has allowed Concepcion, her husband, Jesus, and her three children, Christine Joy, Jesse and Charme, to live more comfortably. Christine Joy is currently enrolled in university studying psychology, while Charme will study business management once Christine graduates. Jesse stays at home to help support the family. A few years ago, Concepcion's husband was involved in an accident that left him disabled. The event strengthened the family's resolve to support each other. "Despite my husband's physical condition, we have a successful business," she said. "We pray God will guide us every day." Concepcion pays it forward by sharing her business knowledge with members of her church. She advises them on how to price items and manage a business. She says she is thankful for the blessings God provides her and looks forward to a brighter future. Opportunity International is privileged to work with exceptional clients like Concepcion, who use a small investment to transform their lives, families and communities.

 

*the identities of the beneficiaries have been changed for privacy

Oct 11, 2013

India Update: Suvarna Panurang Phalke's Story

Because of your generous support, women like Suvarna are able to overcome the hardships associated with chronic poverty. With access to financial services, families no longer have to fear tomorrow. Just a small loan can give a hardworking entrepreneur the opportunity to achieve life-changing transformation. With the proper tools, our clients are able to accomplish their dreams and build secure futures. Your commitment to Opportunity has changed everything for Suvarna and the women in her community.

Abandoned by her husband, Suvarna Panurang Phalke was forced to live in the Azadnager slum with her son and no means of support. With a child and no formal skills outside her duties as a housewife, Suvarna feared for her future. Hearing about Opportunity, she recognized her chance to start a new chapter in her life.

Investing an initial loan of $18, Suvarna purchased a used sewing machine and opened a tailoring business in a market stall. Using subsequent loans and the support from her Trust Group, Suvarna moved from the slums to Pune, where she runs a thriving business that created jobs for eight other women from the local slums. Suvarna says “My greatest reward is to generate jobs for other women; I want to help as many as possible out of the slums.” Suvarna is getting closer and closer to her dream of owning a home and giving her son a college education.
Oct 11, 2013

With your investment we are able to help so many in Africa

An orphaned child in Ghana maintains her spot in the classroom.

A Rwandan rice farmer sells her crop at a higher price.

A seamstress in Tanzania purchases her third machine and hires yet another woman from her village.

A worried mom in Malawi is able to use money from her savings account to purchase medicine for her sick son.

With your investment we are able to help so many in Africa. Here is one example of the impact we have made with your support: Imagine living in an area where you are lucky to live past 45, the infant mortality rate is 17 percent and more than 34 million children are orphans due to poor healthcare.

This is the reality of life in sub-Saharan Africa. The African continent is at the epicenter of a health crisis caused by a combination of poor education, low funds and insufficient access to healthcare. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the African region carries 24 percent of the world’s disease burden but produces only 3 percent of its workers and less than 1 percent of the world’s health expenditure. The cycle of poverty both causes and exacerbates the poor health of people in Africa.

People living in poverty often reside in overcrowded living conditions, are malnourished, and lack education as well as access to clean water and healthcare facilities. These factors leave them extremely vulnerable to a wide range of infectious diseases. Poor health prolongs the cycle of poverty by causing low productivity and creating large numbers of orphans. There’s also the expense that goes along with disease treatment. 

Unlike developed nations such as the U.S., where our greatest health issues are noncommunicable illness such as heart disease, in sub-Saharan Africa infectious diseases cause the biggest problems. Communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are the No. 1 cause of death on the African continent. These are preventable and treatable diseases that can be significantly reduced through education and simple preventative measures.

Opportunity International is taking a step toward solving the African health crisis by addressing both sides of the issue. Opportunity provides health education to our loan clients through Trust Groups. Our Trust Groups comprise 10 to 30 loan clients who participate in a training course on financial literacy, business practices and healthcare issues. They learn about common infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, and how to treat and prevent them. By providing our clients with loans we help them to work their way out of poverty.

With access to financial services they are able to make more money and enjoy better nutrition and living conditions, becoming, as a result, less vulnerable to infectious diseases. These financial services empower entrepreneurs to serve their communities by creating jobs and improving access to clean water, healthcare and education.In this way Opportunity takes a unique, multifaceted approach to helping lift communities out of poverty. Our clients inspire us by overcoming these barriers, transforming their communities and working toward a healthier Africa. 

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