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News Blog

Giving Up Indifference for Lent

by Lydia Baldridge Meier

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent for those who observe that period leading up to Easter, preparing hearts and minds for Jesus’ act of love and sacrifice. Many mark the period by making sacrifices of their own, giving up foods or other indulgences. The Pope’s Lenten message last year has been particularly striking for me.  He asked that we consider giving up indifference toward others. That we open up our hearts to suffering and pain, lest “We end up being incapable of feeling…

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Vicki Escarra and Members of C200 visit Uganda

by Opportunity International

C200 members Jennifer Smith, Beth Leonard, Vicki Escarra, Angela Bastian and Amy Langer visited the areas of Kawempe and Kamwokya in Kampala, Uganda, last week to meet Opportunity International clients and see the organization’s humanitarian programs in action.  

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Opportunity International Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Lydia Baldridge Meier

Nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech at Riverside Church. It still resonates today. On this day of commemoration, I am striving to think about what being a Good Samaritan means in the sense that Dr. King meant it – that no one should be left by the roadside. I’m also reflecting on what it means as part of Opportunity International’s motivation, which states that we seek to emulate the Good Samaritan’s compassion which crossed ethnic groups and religions. This motivation…

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One Amazing Gift – A Job

by Lydia Baldridge Meier

\"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ... a partridge in a pear tree.\" Unlike the lone partridge in the pear tree, our clients are surrounded by the support they need from their very first loan. On the first day our clients increase their income, they begin to achieve their first goal: to educate their children. Then, the first thing our clients do when their business grows is to create jobs for their neighbors. Gallup CEO Jim Clifton shared recently that according to the Gallup…

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A Loving Pair Build A Strong Nest

by Lydia Baldridge Meier

\"On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ... Two turle doves.\" I want to introduce you to an amazing couple. They have been through so much together, and yet their love, positivity and determination remain unwavering. They are my version of turtle doves — together for life, a symbol of love and peace. Martha and her husband are originally from Huila, a province in the southern part of Colombia. They lived on a farm where they were raising their young son. Huila is one of the areas…

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Feeding the Flock: Empowering Smallholder Farmers to Improve Food Security

by Heather Kaczrowski

\"On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three French hens ...\" Three French hens may be a small flock, but for a rural community, even a small flock can make a big impact. Around the world, approximately 80% of farms are smallholder farms, constituted of about five acres of less, with many located in rural, marginalized communities. However, two-thirds of smallholder farmers in Africa are poor and malnourished. Without the ability to invest in quality seed and fertilizer, these…

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New law passed giving better benefits for donations made via your IRA

by Laura DesGranges

As we close out 2015, tax deductions and exemptions are at the forefront of many people’s minds. The IRA Charitable Rollover tax exemption was recently made permanent—and just in the nick of time to take advantage of it in 2015! If you’re not familiar with this exemption, it allows each owner age 70½ and older to make charitable contributions—up to a maximum of $100,000 a year—from their IRA accounts. These distributions for charitable purposes are not taxed, are not included in your adjusted…

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Calling all Clients: How Mobile Phones are Driving Financial Inclusion

by Lydia Baldridge Meier

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...Four Calling Birds Stella, Malawi Joseph, Malawi Felistus, Kenya Cashpor client in India Today, we know that a mobile phone is used for much more than calling. It’s the world in your hands. And for Opportunity clients who are able to bank via their mobile phones, it really does open up the world. Mobile phone banking saves clients time, money and increases their awareness of their financial position. It also enables banks to bring financial…

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Five Digits and One Simple Solution for Client Identification

by Lydia Baldridge Meier

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five golden rings.... The picture above shows the five simple options an Opportunity client has to prove their identity: their digits. Fingerprint recognition is not just a way to bring the technology to rural Africa. It is a transformational service to the most marginalized people. Our clients don’t have to own an official identification card to open a secure savings account. They don’t need to know how to sign their name. When a woman takes…

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A-Laying the Foundation for Sustainable Jobs

by Heather Kaczrowski

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me six geese a-laying... Throughout the holiday season, we see simple acts of generosity magnify – whether it’s a line of coffee-goers paying it forward for the customers behind them, a group of carolers brightening the day for busy commuters in the train station, or a batch of cookies delivering much-needed holiday sugar rushes to fellow co-workers, one small act, just like a goose a-laying, can produce a much larger impact.  Opportunity International…

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