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.
Jul 16, 2014

Nicaragua July Update

2013 was a big year for Opportunity’s work in Nicaragua, and 2014 promises to be even bigger. Our community economic development program doesn’t just focus on farmers; we aim to lift up the entire community.

We take a two-pronged approach to helping our farmers. First, we provide training and increased access to loans. In 2013, 250 clients received training on modern farming practices such as soil fertility and effective seed use. Second, we invest in infrastructure that adds value to crops and improves access to markets. Our yucca processing plant makes packaging and processing tools available to farmers for their crops, allowing them to sell for higher prices. Sales through the processing plant rose to over $90,000 in 2013, and the average Opportunity farmer’s income was $1000 – 30% more than the average in the area. 

We are also ensuring a brighter future for the children of Nicaragua. The Emprendedora Technical School, founded by Opportunity in 2012, has grown by 200% in just two years, and now serves 180 students. By 2016, the school hopes to hire seven new faculty members and expand to a student body of 300. 81% of students at Emprendedora are maintaining grades of at least 80 points, compared to the public school average of 60% maintaining grade level at 60 points. In addition to utilizing their new computer lab and Internet access, Emprendedora’s students benefit from the entrepreneurship lessons Opportunity has embedded into their curriculum, in which they receive a comprehensive, hands-on “field-to-market” education on how to operate a sustainable, profitable business.

Finally, we give back to the community as a whole. We trained 11 community leaders to identify child labor and sex exploitation, resulting in six cases currently under prosecution, and we have established 54 libraries that serve over 3000 rural children and their families.

Apr 9, 2014

Local Staff Empower Clients Like Wilbert

99 percent of Opportunity Internationa's global team are nationals. Our frontline staff comprises deposit mobilization officers, customer service officers, tellers and branch managers. Loan officers provides financial literacy training and support clients in selecting financial services and monitors loan repayments.

Our loan officers are at the heart of our work. Many of them become mentors, acting as catalysts for a lifetime of stability for clients and their families. In spite of their immense potential, the most talented professionals in the developing world lack access to the tools they need to grow professionally. By providing exceptional training, Opportunity International is equipping local, talented staff to become leaders in building the economies of their own communities. 

It is because of our local loan officers that clients like Wilbert believe in Opportunity International and return for mutliple loan cycles as they grow the capaicty of their business. 

Wilbert is an Opportunity client who owns a shop at Mtongani area of Tegeta in Dar es Salaam in which he sells different types of drinks like soda, water, and energy drinks. He is able to earn gross sales of 200,000 TZ shillings per day.

He has been an Opportunity client in the past and this will be his second loan cycle. He plans on using this loan to purchase additional stock for his business. Having more stock in his business means larger sales each month so he can continue to pay for his children tuition at the nearby secondary school and for his oldest which is now at Dar Es Salaam University.

Your support and the suport of his local loan officer has helped Wilbert grow his business and provide for his family. He is now able to pay tuition fees for his children and has a savings account and a safety net for his family. He hopes his children will receive a good education and, one day, help him in business.

Apr 9, 2014

Thomas is educating the next generation of leaders

students
students

Wearing crisp uniforms and sitting in row upon row of wooden desks, a classroom of children follows a lesson with their teacher at the Maryhill Junior School in Uganda. When the teacher prompts, sometimes they answer in unison, other times a myriad of hands shoot in the air, students bursting to catch the teacher’s eye. This was not always the case in this farming town 25 kilometers outside Kampala, the capital city. It’s not hard to marvel at how far the school’s founder Thomas has come.

Through Thomas’ vision and hard work, the Maryhill Junior School has risen from humble beginnings. In 2006, when he was just in his mid-twenties, Thomas made a commitment. He was determined to provide a better education to the children in his community. Like most dreams, his started small. He leased two cramped rooms on a rented plot of land, opening his doors to welcome 37 students. Today, Thomas’ school serves 356 students from K-7, many of whom board on campus. Thomas is making his dream to provide education to his community a reality. Beyond that, the community has found his passion and vision contagious. In the early days, Thomas had to do nearly everything, but today he employs a cadre of 14 teachers and seven caregivers – that’s 21 adults making Thomas’ commitment happen.

His first loan of less than $2,000 allowed him to expand his school by renting more rooms. Over time, Thomas qualified for a larger, more flexible loan valuing $7,600 which he invested to construct kindergarten classrooms. He is currently leveraging his most recent loan of $25,000 to finance an assembly hall and clean running water and electricity in the primary block. It is because of the support of people like you that Thomas has been able to create such growth and community impact. 

Thomas makes a point of going above and beyond for his students, caring little if these selfless acts go unseen. This includes washing the uniforms and shoes of his students, sending them a clear message that they are worthy. When chatting about the future, Thomas says, “I have a dream to add computers, a library and clean running water in the rest of the units. I know I will achieve this with Opportunity as my business partner.”   

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