Program Overview. Since 2003, Opportunity China has been providing poverty alleviation in rural communities. Reaching out to farmers, left-behind women, the elderly and physically disabled are hallmarks of our mission. We empower clients to work their way out of poverty, with dignity intact and hope for the future in their hearts. They achieve success via small business loans, relevant training and the protection of insurance. Once marginalized families are thriving, building income-generating businesses, improving life quality for their families and positively impacting their communities by creating jobs for neighbors.
Outreach. The third quarter of 2016 was a very productive time for Opportunity China who disbursed 225 new loans, bringing its total number of clients with active small business loans 748, surpassing its goal to create or sustain jobs by directly leading to 1,666 jobs created or supported and indirectly creating 3,815 more. In addition to lending, Opportunity China provided development training to both staff and clients and purchased a new vehicle for the Siyang branch that will be deployed as a mobile bank branch, bringing the bank to the doorstep of the rural poor.
2017 Plans. Opportunity China is focused on 2017 planning with an aim to continue toward its goals of reaching long-term sustainability, expanding lending efforts to reach more hard-working entrepreneurs and reducing risk. To achieve this, the team is strengthening the loan approval process, creating new staff incentives and exploring new ways to help clients creatively achieve new growth in their businesses.
Meeting clients at their place of need. Opportunity China’s mission puts client needs at the center with its staff always looking for ways to help clients overcome the challenges they face in their businesses.
An example of this recently occurred when Opportunity stepped forward to help 18 farmers who expressed a need for more sophisticated techniques to prevent pests from damaging greenhouse-grown vegetables. In response, Opportunity China partnered with horticulture experts from both the Suyu Agriculture Commission and professors from local colleges. As a result Opportunity China held training sessions led by a panel of experts. Client response was unanimous – “We deeply value this support!”
Education is key to poverty reduction. Education is one of the largest financial burdens for rural families. When cash flow is not consistent, education, especially for daughters, is among the first to be sacrificed. In response, we launched the Family Education Loan in late 2016. The Family Education Loan helps struggling families pay for expenses associated with education. Parents access funds when they need it and repay in cycles that match their income. For example, farmers repay at harvest times. In the first three months of the pilot, 34 families are benefiting from this loan product with a combined loan value of $51,000.
First Annual Fundraising Dinner. In October 2016, Opportunity China held its first Annual Dinner, which was a deeply meaningful evening of celebration and support for the work that God is doing through Opportunity in China. We raised just over HK$ 647,000 with 50 guests who were in attendance, half of whom were new to Opportunity. The highlight of the night was the Keynote speech given by Opportunity China loan officer Jacob Yang Lei. Jacob works with our clients, visiting them in their homes and workplaces and has befriended many of them. He shared about farmer Tan, who, when Jacob first met him, had been devastated by flooding.
Zheng sends his kids to school. Zheng Zhang Ting is one of our new education loan clients. He and his wife work as farmers yet they struggle to make ends meet between harvest times. When Zheng’s second child was born, it added a severe burden to the family, particularly in education for the children, which forced Zheng to move to other cities to earn extra income. His wife was a left behind woman in the rural village to take care of the family and the farming business.
Learning of Zheng’s case, our loan officer introduced Zheng to Opportunity China and within two days granted him an Education Loan of 10,000 RMB. Zheng was deeply grateful, knowing he could improve his family’s living and send his children to school -- his greatest concern. This small loan significantly eased Zheng’s pressure and solved the major problem his family was currently facing.
Get Involved - Partner with Opportunity to support the left-behind in rural China!
- Join an insight trip to China and see the work first-hand!
- Become an ambassador and share about our work and mission with friends or colleagues.
- Host a gathering or join our organizing committee for our upcoming events.
- Introduce us to friends who may also have a heart for the rural poor in China or are like-minded in sustainable development.
Why China? Factoids:
- 366 million people live below the $2.50 poverty line
- 1 in 5 families include a member with a disability who faces employment discrimination
- 60 million left-behind children have little hope for a bright future