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 7, 2013

Her journey started with you.

Her journey started with you. Families living in chronic poverty are making the most of the opportunities you make possible, living their dream of having a different and better life. Because you invested in Opportunity Malawi, we can continue to invest in people like Beatrice Ngombe of Lilongwe, Malawi as we expand deeper into rural communities where the daily challenges associated with poverty hit the hardest. 

 

Each month, Beatrice hires transport for dried fish, rice and soap to sell at markets in Zambia. For the 16-hour return trip she invests her profit to buy 50 bolts of the finest cloth in Zambia to sell to store owners in Lilongwe.  

Remarkably, this 57-year-old woman, who has lived in extreme poverty most of her life, has learned to negotiate the transport, storage and sale of these goods, establishing a supply chain spanning two countries. It all began when Beatrice left her abusive husband and opened a goods stall to support her two children. A natural entrepreneur, she believed that with hard work and ingenuity she could build a successful business. Beatrice applied for her first loan and opened a savings account with Opportunity Malawi in 2004. Today, on her 7th loan, this one valuing $2,700, she has grown her business from a table top to an import/export business, creating jobs for 12 people.  

With Beatrice’s increased profits and savings, and a great deal of determination over eight years, she has constructed a home with a concrete floor, running water and electricity. She has also secured plots with plans to build rental homes. Perhaps most importantly, she has impacted the future of her grandson and three granddaughters, all orphaned at an early age, by paying for their secondary education. She also mentors several young women in her community, encouraging them to save money and build their businesses. Despite the difficult circumstances of her life, Beatrice lives with energy, passion, dignity and hope.  She says, “I am a living example of what a woman can accomplish through hard work and economic empowerment.”

 

Oct 7, 2013

Project Update: What We Have Accomplished!

With 43% of the population living on less than $2 per day and 10% of the South Africans holding 80% of the country’s wealth, those at the bottom of the economic pyramid lack meaningful access to formal banking services. Currently, Opportunity South Africa operates 10 branches that provide a variety of services to SMEs, equipping entrepreneurs with critical microfinance tools that build successful businesses, generate employment and create thriving communities.

 

In 2013, Opportunity South Africa has a fundraising need of $526,520. Funding will enable Opportunity Finance South Africa (OFSA) to launch School Proprietor loans in 2013 and increase rural expansion and outreach efforts.

Education Finance –OFSA designed and launched the School Fee loan product in response to the identified need within the rural communities surrounding Pietermaritzburg and Durban. The newly piloted School Fee loan portfolio is very healthy with a PAR>30 of 1-2%. In 2013, OFSA is set to launch School Improvement loans.

SME Loans – Opportunity South Africa supports talented enterprises with loans that generate employment opportunities within their respective communities.

Rural ExpansionOpportunity South Africa is focused on expanding its distribution network into rural townships and has opened five kiosks. These kiosks are located in building supply and hardware stores as these tend to be focal points where clients purchase equipment and supplies. The first of these kiosks, based in Hammarsdale Township, paid out 12 loans, valued at $15,000, in its first month of operation. Additionally, OFSA launched its first mobile bank in 2012.

Oct 7, 2013

Danny Mbuila went in search of a trustful partner

Denied by other banks, Danny Mbuila went in search of a partner he could trust to help him grow his shelving business in Kinshasa’s Liberty Market. Shortly after meeting with loan officer Esperance Nsarhaza, he joined Opportunity DRC’s Trust Group “Vanqueurs” which translates to, “Winners”.  Danny began training and received his first microloan eight weeks later. 

“I now earn $30 to $40 each day and can feed my family and grow my business,” says Danny. “I have also used the income to pay school fees and move from a one-room to a three-room home.” One year after joining Opportunity, Danny used his increased capital to pursue another dream: to marry Carine, the mother of his three children. “I gained more esteem from the community and especially from my children by making my union with their mother official. It also brought Carine more respect from her family. In my heart, she has always been my wife, but the $3,500 to make it legal was impossible for us to overcome. Until now.” 

“I recently helped Carine start her own business; seeing her fulfill her dream brought me a great deal of happiness.” Danny has his own dream to move his business from his market stall to a storefront shop and eventually buy land for his family. “Today, I have a sense of hope for a better life for my children,” he says.

Because of inspiring stories like Danny’s we are very pleased to announce the April 2013 launch of Opportunity DRC’s third branch, this one in Matete, a bustling Kinshasa-area market. This new branch will allow us to help even more men and women like Danny.

Opportunity DRC program statistics:  

  • Tripled its footprint in 2013, growing to three branches, leading to a 33% increase in the number of active clients plus doubling its loan portfolio.
  • Nearly doubled the operational sustainability, amidst a year of growth in outreach. 
  • Continued to resolve the political issues that are delaying the deposit-taking license application. 
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