Every year on October 16, Blog Action Day brings together voices from all over the world to share their stories about one important topic. This year’s theme is Raise Your Voice - a theme that resonates with Opportunity and our work around the world. 94% of our clients are women in the developing world who are oftentimes voiceless because of inequality in their families, communities and the economy. We seek to empower them and give them the tools they need to become transformative leaders in their communities through their businesses. By giving them access to financial services they may have otherwise been denied, Opportunity International is promoting positive change in their lives and giving them a voice and a role in their communities. We invest in one woman with a loan every seven seconds, which isn’t just good for women—it’s good for the world!
Amina, Beathe, Najroon and Mary are four different women from four different countries, but they share a common trait. Each of them has a voice because of the support they received from Opportunity. Watch their stories and see how we've raised their voices.
Amina Mendez grew up living in extreme poverty in the Philippines. Her mother, Remy, worked several jobs to provide Amina and her sister with an education, but often struggled to make ends meet. Remy became an Opportunity client and received a loan to support her businesses and her children, both of whom saw college in their futures. Amina attended the University of the Philippines then Ohio Wesleyan University to study mathematics, and now she is a corporate planning officer for Opportunity, helping to raise others out of poverty.
Beathe lost her husband, two children and all of her siblings during the genocide in Rwanda, yet she has triumphed over her unspeakable tragedy. She joined Opportunity International and received her first loan of $60 to support her craft and jewelry business. Now she is using loans of $3000 to expand her business and she is a respected artisan and leader in her community.
In India, Opportunity and our partners have empowered more than 5 million women, like Najroon. After she was forced to pull her eldest son out of school to help afford food for her family, Najroon joined a women's Trust Group and used a loan to buy a hand loom. Now, she can save so her younger children can attend school and she is a leader in her Trust Group who encourages other women to open savings accounts so they can achieve financial security.
Mary Makkazi is a single mother with five children in Uganda. She works her maize farm every day to provide for her children, but she struggled to earn enough income on her own. With training and loans from Opportunity, she has been able to put her children through school, build a house for her family, and create jobs for her neighbors.