My first real experience with microfinance was in a Rwandan hospital.
It was a little over a year ago, and I was on a three-week educational trip to Rwanda. One of our first days there, my group and I were introduced to a Trust Group of about eight women, all of whom had been widowed, some by the 1994 Genocide or by AIDS. Although their peace and joy in the midst of such pain impressed me, I was most overwhelmed by the ambition and generosity shown through their actions as microfinance clients. In addition to working tirelessly to repay their loans on time as a group, they also saved a portion of their monthly income to buy meals for hospital patients. In their local hospital, food is not provided to patients and malnutrition or starvation often plagues those who are already ill. It was amidst this suffering that I witnessed the power of the Trust Group as they brought the patients food, comfort, and hope. It was also the moment I realized the power of microfinance. The loans these women had received gave them the opportunity, and financial freedom, to not only provide for their own families, but also to give to those in need in their community. I had never thought of the ability to help others as a luxury before, but the women in this Trust Group viewed it as a hard-earned privilege.
Now, a year later, I could not be more excited to be part of an organization that empowers millions of hardworking people around the world in this same way. As Opportunity’s new online community specialist, I’ll get to share inspiring stories like this with you every day and help spread the word about how our clients are changing their families and communities. I also hope I’ll be able to get to know you better so we can find the best way to work together, to give our clients the tools they need to move from a life of poverty to stability and opportunity. So come find me on our Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest pages and join the conversation about how our clients are changing their worlds!