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© 2021 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit. EIN: 540907624.

News Blog

50 for 50: Meet Tito Santa María

by Opportunity International

As we celebrate Opportunity’s 50th Anniversary, we are looking back at our history and remembering the clients who have inspired us along the way. One of the earliest recipients of an Opportunity International loan was Tito Santa María, a beekeeper in Colombia. We are honored to share his story. I’ve always said that the bees do a perfect job—all of the mistakes are ours. My name is Mr. Tito Santa María, and I’m a beekeeper. Thirty years ago, I took out a loan to run my own business from…

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50 for 50: The Opportunity International Book Club

by Opportunity International

For years, we’ve felt deeply that the path to knowledge and innovation starts with education. Reading, whether an academic journal or an international novel, has always been a habit that keeps us curious, inspired, and creative. In 2018, Opportunity International launched a new way to get involved, learn about the world, and connect with supporters: The Opportunity International Book Club. Inspired by small book clubs that had popped up among groups of donors around the country, the Book Club became…

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50 for 50: History of Mobile Banks

by Opportunity International

Opportunity International has been at the forefront of mobile banking for decades. As technology has developed over time, so has our ability to reach and serve those living far from urban centers—those who are often most in need of resources and support. Research estimates that 80% of people living in extreme poverty live in rural regions, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia where low population density and poor infrastructure make it difficult for individuals to access traditional…

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Your next summer read: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

by Allison Kooser

As summer heats up, we’re planning vacations, getting into adventures, and diving into great novels. This month, join us as we read the story of a plucky young Ghanaian seamstress as she navigates social and familial pressure to get married and be the perfect wife.  Our July Opportunity Book Club selection is His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie.  When her mother convinces her to marry a successful businessman she’s never met, Medie’s heroine, Afi, must decide if she wants to become the…

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50 for 50: Journeying from Client to Advisor

by Berta Regina Sierra Aguas

My name is Berta Regina Sierra Aguas, and I am 52 years old. I live with my husband, my two sons, my daughter-in-law, and my two grandchildren in Soledad, Atlántico—a municipality an hour and a half from the city of Barranquilla, Colombia. With God's help, we now have a big, beautiful home. Most of my time is dedicated to my work at AGAPE—Opportunity International's partner in Colombia—but I like to spend my free time with my family, especially my grandchildren. I first heard about Opportunity…

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50 for 50: Bringing Health Insurance to Those Who Need It Most

by Richard Leftley

In 2004, Richard Leftley wrote a white paper outlining the severe risks the HIV/AIDS crisis presented for Opportunity International Trust Groups. He proposed a new, creative solution: very small insurance policies for Opportunity International’s clients. Originally, these microinsurance policies were designed to cover a client’s loan balance and, in some cases, funeral expenses, should a Trust Group member pass away. This simple-but-revolutionary concept became MicroEnsure, the world’s first…

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50 for 50: YAO Memories

by Allison Kooser

In 2008, a group of young philanthropists came together in support of Opportunity International. They were so impressed by the model and inspired by the clients that they decided to build a community that would help them introduce even more friends to the organization—Young Ambassadors for Opportunity (YAO) was born. Through local chapters in cities around the United States, Young Ambassadors were able to build relationships, educate their peers about microfinance and development, encourage friends…

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50 for 50: Investing in Agriculture: Celebrating Jane and Peter Nelson

by Opportunity International

In the early 2000s, Opportunity International began working on a new program to meet the unique needs of rural families. The goal was to provide targeted, finance-based solutions to help farmers transform their small farms into more productive and effective enterprises. Opportunity officially launched its Agriculture Finance (AgFinance) program in 2008 to help end the cycle of low-productivity farming in rural African countries. By giving farmers access to seeds and fertilizer, connections to buyers,…

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Revisiting one of the Book Club’s favorite authors

by Allison Kooser

“This is a book that contains very few numbers,” said Hans Rosling of his memoir. “Instead, it is about meeting people who have opened my eyes.” Rosling, a world-renowned physician and data analyst, authored one of our most popular book club picks ever (June 2018), Factfulness. So when his family released his posthumous memoir earlier this spring, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it. This month, join us as we read How I Learned to Understand the World by Hans Rosling, with Fanny Härgestam.…

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50 for 50: Origin Stories - Eastern Europe

by Linda Vander Weele

Our Family’s History In the mid-1980s, our family’s global interest was growing. We had recently adopted two Japanese daughters when former board chair Dave Hardin introduced us to microfinance and Opportunity International in 1987. That year, we took an Opportunity Insight Trip to Guatemala and Costa Rica—and I was invited to join the U.S. board. I suggested a “2-for-1 deal” that would also include my husband, Ken. In 1990, we organized and led our own Insight Trip to Guatemala and Costa…

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