Maya Angelou once said, “I sustain myself with the love of family.” If love of family sustains us, what sustains a family? Families everywhere have the same dreams for their children: to achieve a happy, healthy and successful future, and parents are the foundation to nurturing these dreams. They give their children intangibles like guidance, love and support to fulfill their goals, but oftentimes they struggle to give their children tangible things to sustain them like food, education and healthcare.
Today as we commemorate The International Day of Families, we are proud to reflect on our work to invest in marginalized families around the world. This year’s theme is “Families, healthy lives and sustainable future,” and each item is a goal that Opportunity is working to achieve for families in poverty.
OPPORTUNITY KNOWS THAT BY INVESTING IN WOMEN WE ARE INVESTING IN FAMILIES.
Women reinvest 90% of their earnings into their family’s wellbeing, and at year-end 2015, 3.9 million women were improving life quality for their families and driving economic growth and job creation in their communities with the help of loans from Opportunity. People living in poverty also have limited knowledge of basic health practices and limited access to healthcare. Preventable illnesses can keep them trapped in poverty, which is why our Community Health Leaders program in India has trained 2,400 women on health, hygiene, nutrition and healthcare services. In turn, these women have impacted 500,000 people with healthcare services and awareness, allowing them to extend their knowledge to their families, their neighbors’ families and entire communities.
OPPORTUNITY IS INVESTING IN SUSTAINABLE TRANSFORMATION
By investing in women like Marie Rose from Rwanda, we are creating change on a family level and driving transformation across communities. Marie Rose owned a maize farm that failed to produce a bountiful crop. When her husband died suddenly, she could no longer afford the diabetes medication that was so critical to her continued good health. Grieving and in need of support, she found the answers she sought when a friend invited her to join an Opportunity Rwanda Trust Group.
First, she rented out extra rooms in her home to generate immediate income. Next, she invested Opportunity loans to purchase high quality farm inputs, improving her production. In no time, she was not only growing enough maize to feed her family, but also producing plenty to sell at market. The increased income has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on her ability to manage her illness, support her family and even take on the care of several local orphans from her community.