Merry Christmas to you and your family! I'm honored to wrap up our special 12 Days of Christmas series by highlighting a key reason Opportunity International has been so successful over the years in helping people around the world break the cycle of poverty, transform their lives and strengthen their families and communities.
Every client relationship begins with an understanding that each individual has unique needs, dreams and potential. That means each client receives highly personalized services and training depending on their goals and circumstances. Instead of trying to implement "off-the-shelf" solutions, our loan officers meet weekly with each Opportunity International client to assess their progress, offer advice and help them manage their loans, saving accounts, insurance and other financial products and services we provide. Clients also meet regularly in local Trust Groups to discuss businesses issues and inspire one another to achieve greatness.
One of the millions of clients we've helped through our individualized approach is Mary Makkazi, a maize farmer in Uganda. Mary had two goals—to provide a comfortable home and education for her children—but wasn't earning enough to achieve her dreams. We gave Mary a $180 loan and created a customized program that included training in budgeting, planting techniques and crop marketing, among other coaching. Mary also has a strong relationship with with her loan officer that has grown into a friendship. Today, Mary's farm earns a profit of about $50 a month, which enabled her to build a home for 10 family members, including her children and her sister’s children. She's also able to pay school fees and ensure her children receive a quality education.
About 90 percent of our clients are women like Mary who are determined, hard working and just need a little capital and training to completely transform their lives and change the course of their families for generations.
As you set goals for the new year, please keep families like Mary's in mind. Every $1 you donate grows to $6 over 5 years as your donation is loaned, repaid and loaned to someone else in need. Your donation keeps working over and over to empower entrepreneurs, keep children in school and improve lives.
All the best to you and your family for a wonderful holiday season. The new year promises to bring exciting new challenges and successes as we continue working together to change the world. Thank you for your support.
Global CEO, Opportunity International