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Oct 19, 2012

Meet 1st Grader Scholarship Recipient, Ramya

Ramya introduces herself to visitors
Ramya introduces herself to visitors

One of the ways Opportunity creates a better future for Indian women is through our education finance loans. We believe the most basic but essential building block of empowering people to work their way out of poverty is education. This is more than common sense, there are facts, including these from USAID, to back it up. A few of the most alarming:

  • For every year of school completed, individual earnings increase by 10%.
  • A girl who completes basic education is three times less likely to contract HIV/AIDS.
  • A child born to an educated mother is twice as likely to survive to age five.

Opportunity International is working toward the day when all girls have access to an education. We provide school fee loans in India so parents can afford their children’s tuition. Our loans and business training for school proprietors help them build schools and hire teachers. When a girl is sent to school, she has the chance for a healthier, more hopeful future with choices her mother never had. With more education, girls marry later and have fewer children, the country's economy improves and government corruption declines.

These are the opportunities that are now available to Ramya, a 1st grader in India who is a recipient of a scholarship from our Education Finance program in India. Ramya wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and she knows that getting a good education now is the only way she will be able to achieve her dreams.  Some of our donors had the chance to meet Ramya during an Insight Trip to visit our work in India, and she was thrilled to share her dreams and hopes with them. With her scholarship from Opportunity, these dreams can now someday become a reality. 

Thank you for all your support in helping girls like Ramya build a better future! 

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Oct 18, 2012

Cultivating Hope Among Mozambique's Smallholder Farmers

Opportunity International is helping smallholder farmers achieve optimum output to put more food on the family table and increase food security in their communities.

We’re committed to helping farmers in sub-Saharan Africa transition from subsistence to economically- and commercially-active farming. Through an innovative and sustainable approach to agricultural finance, Opportunity provides products and services designed to achieve financial sustainability. These efforts ensure an ongoing contribution to poverty eradication and economic development in underserved rural communities.

Opportunity Mozambique launched its financial literacy training program geared to farmers. The chief transformation officer, Linda Godinho, led 175 farmers through the course presented in the local language, which covered budgeting, basic record-keeping and the importance of saving and business-planning. Farmers responded with unanimous appreciation and Linda received recognition by the Mozambican government officials who were there to observe the training. Now having conducted a successful pilot, Linda plans to roll out the training to farmers across Opportunity Mozambique’s rural bank branches this year.

By supporting farmers in Mozambique with comprehensive financial tools and managing partnerships throughout the value chain, Opportunity is providing a successful example of how to improve farm productivity and alleviate rural poverty, enabling them to increase their yields at harvest time so they can send their children to school and put more food on the family table. These efforts are helping to increase food security and transform the continent’s hunger and poverty landscape.

Thanks for your support that helps make this possible! 

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Oct 18, 2012

You Helped Opportunity Grow in Tanzania

Mary, an Opportunity client in Tanzania
Mary, an Opportunity client in Tanzania

You helped Opportunity grow in Tanzania

 As we gather momentum in Tanzania, more parents go to market each day armed with the capital, training and support they need to increase their income and provide for their families. The loans your funding makes possible are delivered through Opportunity’s core Trust Group model. In addition, Opportunity Tanzania achieved the following:

  • Nearly doubled its outreach in one year, ending the first half of 2012 with 7,568 loan clients.
  • 30% increase in the value of the outstanding loan portfolio in 2012.
  • Launched Individual loans in the second quarter of 2012.
  • Began to develop a School Fee loan and planned for School Proprietor loans. 

Bringing life-saving insurance to Tanzanian clients

Your support has also helped expand Microensure, Opportunity's insurance provider and the world’s first and largest microinsurance broker. 

In the past, if a family member needed healthcare, Theresia John Kombe of Pangara, Tanzania, had to sell one of her chickens to pay for it. But as a coffee grower with the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU), Theresia was able to join a MicroEnsure health plan that is connected to a network of clinics. Now, she pays an $8 annual premium that covers her whole family.

That insurance coverage was vital one night when her baby, Loreen, was vomiting and had to be taken to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with malaria. Theresia was so happy that Loreen was able to get immediate care without a fee.

Theresia says that one of the best aspects of having health insurance is that her family can plan for health needs a year in advance. It used to be that they would have to immediately try to sell a chicken, sometimes for less than it’s worth, to have money to go to a clinic or hospital. This is the case for many rural and farming families, especially between harvests when they don’t have much money available. Now, clients like Theresia who have insurance can get their children to health facilities when they need to go, ensuring that they’ll be treated as soon as they have symptoms of an illness, rather than having to wait until they can afford to go. For the adults in the family, this reduces the risk that they will miss workdays and extra income.

MicroEnsure works with medical staff at the local Uuwo Dispensary in Pangara on their bedside manner, explaining the way to approach, talk to, diagnose and treat patients. KNCU Health Plan providers are taught that making physical contact with patients during evaluation and treatment goes a long way towards demonstrating that they care, rather than just prescribing tests and drugs with only a cursory discussion. Theresia said she feels MicroEnsure’s plan is focused on the women and mothers of KNCU as they are the ones that deal with all health issues in the family. She says the women of her cooperative are all extremely grateful for the program.

Thanks for all your support in helping to make this possible! 

Dr. Felix treats Theresia's daughter, Loreen.
Dr. Felix treats Theresia's daughter, Loreen.

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