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Around the world, Opportunity International’s (OI) network of partners helps some of the poorest people in the world onto pathways out of poverty through our Financial Inclusion programs. These entrepreneurs have ambitious dreams for their futures and simply need an opportunity to thrive. We provide them with access to loans, savings, insurance, and training—tools that empower them to work their way out of poverty.
Our ultra-poverty program promotes financial, economic, and social inclusion for ultra-poor families through the provision of life skills and confidence-building training and the development of income-generating activities, which provides families with stable and reliable incomes.
Haiti: Dania, and her partner, Mergenord, were merely getting by on what Mergenord could earn as an assistant carpenter. Dania joined the ultra-poverty program and chose goats and turkeys as her enterprises. With the income from her enterprises and some help from Mergenord, she’s able to make regular contributions to her Village Savings and Loan Association. She plans to invest these savings in more livestock, preferably a cow. “When you have a cow, you can sell it if you have a big problem. Its calves can be sold for a lot, too. Eventually you can buy land.” She also plans to start her own business.
Microenterprise Trust Group Program
This program consists of self-help groups of 25 to 40 women. The process begins with 12 hours of training over a three-day period, covering topics such as family relations, gender equality, and financial literacy. After training, OI staff work with each woman to develop a plan to move them towards financial self-sufficiency and eventually access microloans, microleasing, micro-savings, and/or microinsurance.
The DR: Altagracia is a widow with three adult children who help her when they can. But what helps her buy food and support herself are her three small businesses, one of which is sewing household articles. She currently borrows a sewing machine from a neighbour and hopes to qualify for a micro-lease to buy her own sewing machine.
She sells approximately 10 dollars a day, realizing a 50 percent profit, and has learned to manage her finances. She says, “I need to know how much money I am making with each business. I enjoy participating in the meetings, and being part of the group is a nice way to socialize while learning to save.”
Small Business Enterprise (SME) Program
Some microentrepreneurs desire to grow their businesses, however, they don’t have access to capital. Through our SME Program, these entrepreneurs are provided with the capital and training needed to expand, increase their income and create jobs for others.
Ghana: Jane and her husband manage a school serving 300 students in a low-income community. Many of the girls were late to school because they had to fetch water for their families. Therefore, Jane decided she would branch out into the water delivery business.
Four locations were identified where boreholes had been dug. A community leader helped Jane secure the necessary permits to construct the pumps, but she needed capital to complete the work. Unable to obtain a loan from a traditional bank, she was introduced to OI, who provided her with the necessary financing and training in water delivery station management. Jane successfully runs the four stations and employs one manager at each. As a female leader, in a non-traditional business, Jane encourages other women to get into business too.
Opportunity International Canada empowers families to leave poverty behind for good. We provide financial assistance and training along their paths to new lives filled with strength, hope, resilience and the power to achieve their dreams.