Oct 23, 2017

Meet Guminem - Woven Mat Maker from Indonesia

Outside of Jakarta in Indonesia, Guminem works hard to overcome obstacles and make the best of the challenging situations that are part of everyday life. Although her daughter, Skikamari would like to do her part to help support the household, a disability prevents her from working. She seeks work every day, but most residents of the small village where they reside consider her unemployable.

As the family’s needs grew, Guminem realized she must decide on a plan to increase her income. Lacking resources to start a business, she was delighted when a friend introduced her to Opportunity International. Armed with a loan of about $100 and ongoing business training, she invested her loan to launch a business crafting doormats from coconut husks. Through support, mentoring, and a few more loans, she has successfully grown her operation into a business that can support the family. Not only is Guminem meeting the needs of her daughter, Sikamari, but she has achieved strong business growth and has created jobs for neighbors. Perhaps the greatest joy of all, she has been able to hire her daughter, who is blossoming as she feels joy in her ability to help and also enjoying the dignity of being a productive member of society.

When we asked Guminem where the family would be without the opportunity of a loan, she responded quietly, “I would not want to think about that.”

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Oct 6, 2017

Meet RoLeta Zinzinga - A Seamstress in Uganda

RoLeta is a seamstress in Uganda.
RoLeta is a seamstress in Uganda.

Despite the poverty surrounding her in Kampala’s slums, RoLeta Zinzinga refused to be drawn into hopelessness and despair. Known for her positive can-do attitude and business savvy, RoLeta was never one to sit back and wait for an opportunity to come alone. She was always on the lookout for a way to generate income and improve her circumstances.

With a knack for sewing picked up from her mother, RoLeta supported herself by taking on sewing jobs as she perfected her seamstress skills. At times, even her positive attitude was tested when basic sewing handwork jobs were scarce.

RoLeta never gave up and when a friend told her about Opportunity International, she quickly agreed to join a Trust Group. Armed with new knowledge about running a sustainable business, she invested her first loan to purchase a sewing machine and supplies. RoLeta used her most recent loan to set up shop in a small kiosk, and is overjoyed each time customers line up to drop off work. Sales are soaring and RoLeta has finally turned her fashion sense into an income-generating, profitable enterprise

Not long ago, RoLeta had never seen the inside of a bank nor had she accessed financial services. Today, she is an empowered businesswoman who is recognized in her community as an inspiration for other young woman. There is no question that she will achieve her dreams for herself, her business, and her family.

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Oct 2, 2017

Harvesting Hope

Farmers are increasing their crops and income.
Farmers are increasing their crops and income.

Opportunity nearly doubled the number of Nicaraguan farmers it serves with technical support to 1,200 at December 31, up from 687 a year ago. With the processing plant operational, our Nicaraguan team is preparing to launch our first satellite processing plant later in 2017. Together, the main processing plant in Granada and satellite processing plant that will be situated on the Atlantic coast will allow us to reach farmers in more remote and marginalized parts of the country. The focus at this time is to obtain and outfit the plant with equipment. The region surrounding the main plant has completed production so some machinery and equipment are being moved to the satellite in time to process the later harvest.

To create more opportunities for Nicaraguan farmers, on the advice of General Mills and other potential buyers, we undertook the process toward certification for the processing plant. Upon receiving all three levels of Safe Quality Food certification, one of the most rigorous food certifications across the globe, we will become one of only a few plans in Nicaragua with the coveted certification. Additionally, in 2016 we supported 64 farmer circles comprised of 1,200 farmers from Pacific South and Nuevo Guiana via access to funding, technical assistance, crop processing and end markets. 56% of the farmers who sold their yucca through Opportunity interventions increased their income by more than 30%.

Thanks to your support, Nicaraguan farmers can provide for their families and build stronger futures with technical assistance from Opportunity.

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