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Creating Pathways to Prosperity: Graduation Day at Emprendedora Technical High School, Nicaragua

Opportunity International celebrates a milestone in academic achievement in Granada, Nicaragua; a benchmark for future success in the region for local students and their social enterprise partner

CHICAGO / GRANADA – FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2016 – Opportunity International proudly announces the inaugural graduating class of Emprendedora Technical High School, which was founded in 2012 in Granada, Nicaragua, a country where more than 48 percent of children never reach the sixth grade.

Emprendedora Technical High School is part of Opportunity International’s Community Economic Development (CED) strategy which builds upon the local assets in a community and develops strategies to grow the local economy through the development of small and medium enterprises. This strategy enables people living under $2 a day to break the cycle of chronic poverty and build healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities.

“We’re excited to celebrate this achievement as one of the only high schools accredited by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education (MINED) and the Technology National Institute (INATEC) which enables students to receive a technical degree in sustainable tourism or agriculture in addition to their high school diploma,” David Kone, Nicaragua Country Director, Opportunity International, said. “The school is also accredited by Agriculture Best Practices (BPA) which promotes sustainable agriculture. We founded the school with just two classrooms and 60 students. Two new classrooms and 60 additional students were added each year. The school reached its full capacity this year with 300 students in seventh to 11th grade.

Acclaimed actress, activist and proud Young Ambassador for Opportunity International Malin Akerman has supported the unprecedented transformation in the lives of these young people since the inception of the school and has commended its unique curriculum and the precedent set by these boys and girls in having successfully graduated from high school.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Opportunity International and seeing the school in Nicaragua first-hand in 2012,” Akerman said. “The school teaches a traditional high school curriculum along with hands-on instruction in entrepreneurship in some of the region’s fast-growing industries of tourism and agriculture. By learning skills suited to their local economy, these students are prepared to start or be gainfully employed by a local business, or continue on to university. I’m excited about their future.”

Opportunity International Global CEO Vicki Escarra recently met with David Kone and Opportunity International supporters David and Donna Allman to tour the school and meet with students.

“In 2007, David and Donna had the idea to build a CED program in Nicaragua, which fell outside of our traditional microfinance model,” Escarra said. “But the Allmans had tremendous passion so we leveraged the funding model of Opportunity International combined with private investments from the Allmans and our donor networks. Today, this community has been transformed by their vision and support.The school runs several agricultural and tourism small businesses, providing both a vehicle for a ‘learn by doing’ environment to the students and revenue from sales of goods and services to cover the cost of operating the school itself. The school plus the community leadership and infrastructure program creates long-term sustainable transformation at a community level, while other focus areas—such as agriculture and artisan support programs—help create those living in poverty make a living.”

Opportunity International uses cutting-edge financial services and on-site training based on established needs to help people in more than 24 countries break the cycle of poverty.

To learn more about Opportunity International’s CED Program in Nicaragua, please visit http://opportunitynicaragua.org/.


Opportunity International is a global non-profit organization that helps people in developing countries work their way out of poverty. Founded in 1971, the organization has provided more than $9 billion in loans to help clients launch and expand businesses, provide for their children and create jobs in their communities. At the end of 2015, more than 14 million clients in 24 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, were using an Opportunity International loan, savings account, insurance policy or training to improve their lives. The organization has set a goal of helping clients create or sustain 20 million jobs by 2020. Through our long history in developing microfinance and complementary products and services in education, agriculture and health, we’ve helped clients create 15.8 million jobs as of the end of 2015. More than 95 percent of Opportunity’s loan clients are women who would otherwise likely not have access to financial services because of legal and cultural gender inequities in many developing countries. The global headquarters of Opportunity International are in Chicago, with other key offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The organization serves clients through a network of more than 20,000 people worldwide.

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