At Opportunity International’s Fifth Annual Congress of Leaders, our staff celebrated the continuation of Opportunity’s work and the lives of our clients in Colombia. Clients like, Basilia and Omaira. Basilia, who now leads a life of dignity, having worked hard to utilize her loans to transform her house into a safe, comfortable home for her family. Omaira represents what it looks like to live with empathy. After receiving loans that created opportunities to better her own life, she changed someone else’s by giving a plot of her land to another family. As our programs grow, so will our ability to provide the opportunities necessary for people like Basilia and Omaira to better their own lives and the lives of others.
Opportunity continues to reach an increasing number of clients in Colombia. From 2014 to 2017, Opportunity has increased the number of savings accounts from 24,816 to 49,604 accounts. Despite economic challenges in 2017 which made growth in loan services difficult, Opportunity reached an additional 1,000 small business clients in the first few months of 2018, increasing our number of loan clients from 6,180 to 7,282.
Opportunity’s partner NGO, AGAPE, also expanded its reach in 2017. Over the course of the year, AGAPE conducted 2,438 training sessions, including training of 498 Trust Group leaders. In order to fight the difficulty of household instability, AGAPE also provided 188 families with technical assistance for the Roof & Floor home improvement program.
Opportunity Colombia continues to progress its Educational Finance program. The model of EduFinance provides loans for both the providers and recipients of education. First, Opportunity offers School Fee Loans to allow families with inconsistent income to pay the payments required at the start of the school year. In 2017, the EduFinance program in Colombia provided families with 491 School Fee Loans to support the educational costs of approximately 1,525 children. Opportunity also works to create better schooling opportunities for children through its School Improvement Loans. These loans used by educators and providers who are running private schools with quality education options for children. Educators used 414 School Improvement Loans in 2017, amounting to $754,540 in loans to enhance education quality through improved infrastructure such as better classrooms and gender-separated bathrooms.
Finally, Opportunity’s partner, AGAPE worked hard in 2017 to create awareness and move clients toward clean water resources. 289 individuals from 11 Trust Groups participated in training aimed at creating awareness of the danger in consuming unsafe water. As a result of the pilot program, 52 clients indicated their interest in obtaining a BioSand water filter in the future.
Thanks to your donations, clients like Basilia and Omaira have access to the tools and training they need to support their families in Colombia.