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News Blog

A Love Worth Celebrating

by Allison Kooser

When Elton Guazambera was hospitalized last year, his life was filled with uncertainties. Would he recover? What would his long-term diagnosis be? But unlike most of his neighbors in Lilongwe, Malawi, Elton had one thing he didn’t need to worry about: whether he could afford his hospital bills. Elton knew that he could get the treatment he needed because his wife Hanna had spent the last decade carefully building a savings account with Opportunity International. For years, Elton and Hanna have…

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Day 1: The Gift of Education

by Vicki Escarra

Merry Christmas to you and your family! I'm honored to wrap up our special 12 Days of Christmas series by highlighting a gift I received from participating in the inaugural graduation ceremony at Emprendedora Technical High School, which was founded in 2012 in Granada, Nicaragua, a country where more than 48 percent of children never reach the sixth grade. Founded in 2012, the high school is part of Opportunity International’s Community Economic Development (CED) strategy to build on the local…

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Day 2: Tires and Handlebars

by Laura DesGranges

As a new parent, there’s so much I don’t know. Every day is filled with a choose-your-own-adventure series of decisions and frankly, most of the time I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong. Advice comes flying at me from all corners—some welcomed, some intimidating, and sometimes in the form of tires and handlebars. When I attended the first graduation of the Emprendedora Technical School in Nicaragua earlier this month, it was not the students I marveled at. Yes, of course they were amazing:…

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Day 3: The Gift of Story

by Lydia Baldridge Meier

I’ve spent more than a dozen years being a storyteller for Opportunity International. Stories go into proposals, reports, cards, letters, articles, videos, speeches. You might think that after a while, stories would start to blur and feel formulaic. But to me, receiving each client’s story is a precious gift that they impart to me – the privilege to bear witness to their journey. Whether they give their story directly to me during a visit, or whether I receive it second or third hand through…

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Day 4: The Gift of Resilience

by Kathy Beenen

Pick yourself up. Brush it off. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We all have casual phrases for moving forward in adversity. But the fact is, sometimes life deals a tragic blow, and there isn’t a phrase in the world that begins to capture the path forward. In Kigali, Rwanda, I met Petronaire, an Opportunity client who has built a successful tailoring business. She introduced me to her colleagues who are also seamstresses. While sketching designs and taking measurements, they started…

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Day 5: The Yellow Latrine

by Emily Nicola

One month ago while the rest of the world was in a meltdown over a certain election, I was thankful to be tucked away in a chaotic corner of India visiting some amazing female entrepreneurs who are changing the course of their families’ futures. There I was in a rural village outside of Varanasi, completely in awe of someone’s toilet. It wasn’t the toilet itself that struck me (I’ve seen and used a squat toilet before), it was the vibrant yellow colour it was painted. In our society, toilets…

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Day 6: The Gift of Abundant Sameness

by Sarah Tesch

As we prepare for Christmas, we are counting down our 12 Days of Opportunity - celebrating the many gifts we have received while working with our clients and staff around the world.  The developing world is so different, and yet I am taken aback by the many things that resonate as “the same.” As I traveled through Nicaragua last spring to see first-hand how small investments in people—financial, time, guidance and more—can change lives dramatically, I learned something I did not expect.…

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Day 7: Hospitality Woven

by Allison Kooser

As we prepare for Christmas, we are counting down our 12 Days of Opportunity - celebrating the many gifts we have received while working with our clients and staff around the world.  I stumbled my way to Dionel’s front door, inching down the side of a steep hill, steadying my feet as I walked. His home sits precariously on a mountainside, at risk because of geology, but even more because of geography. He lives in Colombia in an area known as the violence corridor. The history of Colombia is one…

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Day 8: A Ride in a Time Machine

by Diane Ferguson, Sr. Manager, Reporting and Communications.

As we prepare for Christmas, we are counting down our 12 Days of Opportunity - celebrating the many gifts we have received while working with our clients and staff around the world. For many of us Christmas is a season of joy and a time for friends and family, accompanied with the giving and receiving of gifts. Celebrations of the birth of our Lord and Savior are often marked by great bounty—tables laden with sumptuous food and rich desserts, Christmas trees and stockings overflowing with delightfully…

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Day 9: Fulfillment Through Work

by Joyce Owusu Dabo

As we prepare for Christmas, we are counting down our 12 Days of Opportunity - celebrating the many gifts we have received while working with our clients and staff around the world. Not many people get to thoroughly enjoy their work whilst positively impacting lives and putting smiles on the faces of entrepreneurs living in poverty. I have worked for almost 16 years at Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans (SASL), one of Opportunity’s microfinance partners. My passion is to see and feel the positive effect…

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