All parents around the world share the same dream: to see their children educated and attaining a better life. Opportunity International’s Banking on Education initiative increases access to schooling by offering financial products tailored to schools and families. Your support is providing growth capital to small non-governmental schools in underserved neighborhoods to develop infrastructure, hire new teachers and improve meal programs, and parents are gaining access to school savings accounts and school fee loans. As of December 2011, Opportunity’s Education Finance portfolio consisted of three main components. The first is school proprietor loans to 332 schools with a combined total of nearly $3 million in outstanding loans, an increase of 26% since 2010 year-end. School fee loans to 2,648 families are helping parents budget education into their uncertain household cash flow; and finally, school savings accounts help parents put aside money to educate their children.
School Loans – Through the Banking on Education program, a school proprietor can obtain long-term loans of $5,000 to $25,000 to add classrooms, improve infrastructure and hire qualified teachers. Business and community leadership training, as well as ongoing mentoring, helps school proprietors create and implement a successful business plan. With higher quality schools, children also benefit from improved nutrition, sanitation and clean water.
School Fee Loans – Opportunity provides school fee loans, enabling parents to pay tuition. When families are given access to these small school fee loans, they are able to make payments over time that are compatible with their cash flow. These products reduce the barriers that families often face when sending their children to school.
Child Savings Accounts – Child savings accounts are specialized, interest-bearing savings accounts available to parents. These accounts promote financial discipline for families wanting to save for their children’s education. In the event of a loss of a parent or guardian, the savings remain an asset of the child.