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 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. 

Oct 11, 2013

Education Update in Africa

THANK YOU for your continued partnership. Your generous support is changing the face of education in the developing world. Cumulatively, we have provided School Improvement loans and training to 1,112 school proprietors and 13,096 School Fee loans to families. What Opportunity’s done for Education this year:

  • School Improvement loans have increased from $3.578 million in July to $4.045 million in December. ·         Opportunity launched EduSave, a savings-plus-insurance product, in Ghana in 2012 and Malawi in early 2013. It is also poised to launch EduSave in Uganda in 2013. (See Nathan’s Message for more on EduSave)
  • In 2013, Dominican Republic and Philippines plan to join the Education Finance initiative, with portfolios focused on School Improvement loans and School Fee loans, respectively.
  • Opportunity Kenya recently launched School Fee loans in response to client feedback.
  • We will launch secondary education School Fee loans in Malawi and Rwanda for the first time in 2013.
  • The combination of primary/secondary and tertiary School Fee loans at OISL in Ghana doubled in 2012.
  • We partner with Vittana to provide tuition loans for college and technical training where low-income students have no other financing options. In 2012, we partnered with Vittana in Ghana, Rwanda and the Philippines, and plan to partner with them in Uganda in 2013.
  • We are scaling up the Education Finance initiative in Uganda and Rwanda, including School Fee and School Improvement loans, plus targeted youth products and EduSave. Plans are being drawn up to publish
  • Opportunity's first industry findings paper on Education Financing in sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, focused on program impact in Uganda and Ghana. 
Oct 7, 2013

A message from Comfort

The name of my school, Ahobrase Academy, means "humility." In 1998, I had the idea to create a small nursery in my home. Day after day, I saw children aimlessly wandering the streets and not in the classroom. In Ghana, like many other places, getting an education is critical for success. So everyday when my husband left for work, I would secretly teach children from within my home. I would go into the community and invite children in, many who were hungry and unclothed.  Slowly I began to build a school that not only provides access to education but also offers children a safe place where they could bathe and eat. We became a family.

Over time, the number of students I was teaching outgrew my front porch and I knew I needed to find a new facility. I had dreams of expanding and improving what I was offering. And so six months after I first opened my doors to children in the community, I told my husband what I had been doing—and, to my surprise, he was supportive and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. 

With an introduction from a friend, I met with a loan officer from Opportunity International, applied, and received a school proprietor loan. In no time at all, I started with the foundation for a new building. I built a first story. And then a second. Every time Ahobrase Academy grew in size, so did the number of eager children waiting outside with a hunger for learning.

Today, Ahobrase Academy has more than 800 students from preschool through junior high. It amazes me and touches my heart to hear the children call me "Momma!" Everywhere I go they shout, "Momma! Momma! Momma!" We are a family and these are my children. Just like I dream for a better future for my four daughters, I have big hopes for my students—many of whom are now in college. And that is what I dreamed of—opening the doors to opportunity. 

Unfortunately, I did not go to college because I couldn't afford to. Like every parent, I saw many possibilities in my children and wanted them to succeed and have a brighter future. And that's exactly what they are doing. I am proud to say to say that all of my children are today attending University and pursuing careers they are passionate about. That's all any parent can ask for.   

Opportunity International gave us the resources to make these dreams a reality. When others would have denied me a loan, Opportunity International opened their doors and guided me through the process. Today, I am investing in my community, educating children, employing teachers, and looking toward the future where we will continue to expand and improve Ahobrase Academy.

My name is Comfort Appiah and I am proud to invest in education across Ghana. Thank you for helping to create brighter futures for children everywhere. Opportunity supports smallholder famers with agricultural finance tools and training to equip them to move from subsistence to commercial farming. Helping farmers increase their yields and productivity raises household incomes. This is crucial to ending hunger and supporting children's education. With your help, we provide financial services specifically tailored to the needs of farm families - ending the multigenerational cycle of poverty by allowing them to invest in their children's futures. 

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