When we first set up operations in 2003, Oportunidad Microfinanzas was one of the few microfinance organizations in the country. We’ve accomplished great things in Mexico over the last decade. During that time Oportunidad Microfinanzas has loaned $40 million, helped 25,000 families and improved more than 100,000 lives. In honor of this final report, we wanted to share one last story of a clients life you helped change, Romualda Garcia Carrasco:
Although Romualda is enjoying the benefits of being a successful business owner, her life has been filled with hardship. After her husband passed away, she was left to care for her eight children on her own. Determined to provide her family with an education and the opportunities she was never able to receive, Romualda opened a storefront retail business in Chapala, Mexico selling chips and candy.
Romualda knew that if she was to realize her dream of sending her children to school she had to increase her profits. A born entrepreneur, she knew to increase her profit she had to increase her customer base and diversify her product line. Even with the know-how Romualda was turned away by bank after bank. Things finally began looking up when a friend told her about Opportunity Mexico. She was elated to receive her first loan and used it to diversify her inventory to include cosmetics.
Romualda’s strong work ethic and attention to detail has enabled her to become the auditor of her Trust Group, a position which requires great responsibility. She enjoys interacting with her fellow group members, whom she draws upon for advice, motivation and a sense of community. Yet Romualda’s greatest source of inspiration is her children. She is so thankful to Opportunity International for empowering her to provide her children with a better future. Today, two of her grown daughters have their own small businesses made possible by their loans with Opportunity Mexico.
Meet Opportunity Mexico client Maria Elena Tovar Gonzalez. She was one of the first Opportunity Mexico clients, after its inception in 2004. Within four years as an Opportunity client, Maria was in her tenth loan cycle and has never missed a single payment!
Like many of our clients, Maria began her journey as an entrepreneur with almost nothing to her name. Her husband strongly discouraged her from starting a business, but she was determined to make more money to better provide for their children. So with her first loan she started small--she bought two small tables that could be used to display merchandise for sale outside her home. Hard work brought success, and she soon took a second loan to expand her business inside her house. With each loan she bought something new--display racks, a bigger table to place more merchandise--and slowly transformed her kitchen into a small grocery store.
But Maria didn't stop there. As a small girl Maria had always loved to bake and decided to use her talents to expand her business. Once she started, the demand for her baked goods was so great that her oven broke after too much use. Not giving up, Maria took yet another loan to buy a used industrial sized oven.
Today, Maria runs a thriving grocery store and bakery, and most importantly is better able to provide her children's basic needs. That's the power of determination. That's the power of one woman to make a difference.
Thank you for helping to make stories like Maria's possible!
In the past two years, Opportunity Mexico has been working hard to build its client base and reach more people with microfinance solutions to help them work their way out of poverty. Under the leadership of CEO Maria Clara Martinez, the institution has revamped its processes and increased its outreach by more than 27%, up from 4,907 loan clients two year ago. The team retained its 100% rate of operational sustainability during this time of significant growth.
Opportunity Mexico continues to improve its operational processes and expand its base in 2012, aiming to double loan client outreach. The institution also launched individual loan products in June 2011 to provide qualified clients with training and loans geared toward established businesses.
Population: 110 millionPopulation living below poverty line: more than 40%Life expectancy: 76 yearsGDP per capita: $12,800Literacy rate: 91%Population in formal labor force: 42%
Mexico’s record on economic freedom, is one of considerable ups and downs. Registering one of the 10 largest score declines this year, the economy’s ranking indicates that serious challenges remain. The rule of law has been severely undercut by ongoing violence and social instability related to drug trafficking. Other grave institutional weaknesses include rampant corruption and weak protection of private property rights. The reform agenda addressing these deficiencies has been extensive, but progress has been sluggish and marginal.
It is in the midst of these hardships that Opportunity Mexico has been working hard to build its client base and reach more people with microfinance solutions to help them work their way out of poverty. CEO Maria Clara Martinez continues to lead the Opportunity Mexico team in serving entrepreneurs in the slums of urban Guadalajara and in rural communities in Jalisco and Michoacan, where joblessness and despair are all too common. Throughout 2012, Opportunity Mexico is aiming to significantly increase loan client outreach and to continue to provide qualified clients with both training and loans geared toward established businesses.
A gift to Opportunity Mexico makes it possible for market vendors to fill their stalls with goods, artisans to make a profit, educators to expand schools and farmers to move beyond subsistence. We look forward to seeing continued growth this year through the generous donations of our supporters and the work of our staff in Mexico.
In 2009, Mexico's GDP plunged 6.2% as world demand for exports dropped, asset prices tumbled, and remittances and investment declined. GDP posted positive growth of 5.4% in 2010 and 3.8% in 2011 however the country continues to face many economic challenges, including improving the public education system and upgrading infrastructure. Felipe Calderon and his administration has stated that his top economic priorities remain reducing poverty and creating jobs.
In the past three years, Opportunity Mexico has been working hard to build its client base and reach more people with microfinance solutions to help them work their way out of poverty. Under the leadership of CEO Maria Clara Martinez, the institution has revamped its processes and increased its outreach. Similar to its strategic goals in 2011, Opportunity Mexico will continue to improve its operational processes and expand its base in 2012, aiming to significantly increase loan client outreach and to continue to provide qualified clients with both training and loans geared toward established businesses.
The generosity of our supporters helped Opportunity Mexico's clients and their communities thrive in 2011. Our microfinance products made it possible for market vendors to fill their stalls with goods, artisans to make a profit, educators to expand schools and farmers to move beyond subsistence. We are excited to watch Opportuntiy Mexico grow to meet the needs of the country and provide more tools to more people so they can work their way our of poverty.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
Still want to help?
Support another project run by Opportunity International that needs your help, such as: