CHICAGO, IL, USA, May 6, 2021 – Opportunity International, a longstanding global leader in providing microfinance services to lift people out of poverty, today announced it is redeploying its network resources across India to support COVID-19 relief efforts amongst its more than 7 million clients in India. The 50-year-old nonprofit is marshalling its resources, from partners to people to physical offices, to deliver public health education, food supplies and direct medical support to millions in nine of the hardest hit states in India.
Amid the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreak, Opportunity International is working with our community-based microfinance partners to provide emergency relief to vulnerable communities where essential health services are impaired. To prevent infections, Opportunity’s partners are tackling rampant misinformation through sustained campaigns via SMS, WhatsApp and social media, as well as in-person, where microfinance loan repayment meetings are permissible as essential activities. Opportunity’s partners are also distributing food rations and medicine, so people with mild symptoms and exposure to COVID-19 can isolate safely.
In addition, local partners are providing telemedicine services to manage COVID-19 and mental health at home, and using branch offices or other unused facilities like college dorms and hotels to provide basic care beds with oxygen supply, and establishing a temporary ambulance service to transport critical cases to hospitals. Also, Opportunity’s partners have been collaborating with the government to organize vaccination camps and provide small business loans to restore livelihoods and rebuild for a future beyond COVID-19.
Opportunity International is putting out an appeal to raise the initial $2 million needed for this phase of the crisis response, from American corporations, foundations, family offices and philanthropists (opportunity.org/supportindia).
"India’s COVID-19 surge is having a devastating impact on bottom-of-the-pyramid households which could result in preventable infections and loss of life amongst these families. As their trusted advisers and partners for more than 14 years, we feel an obligation to stand with them in this moment of a life and death crisis. Extraordinary situations demand an extraordinary response," said Atul Tandon, CEO, Opportunity International. "Using our trusted, established network to reach critically affected 2.5 million client families with 10 million family members is an extension of our long-standing mission to help improve the lives of the poor in India and elsewhere."
Furthermore, Opportunity International is seeking volunteer medical professionals who are fluent in Hindi or Punjabi, and have prior experience in COVID telemedicine to provide remote care and mental health support in rural communities in India. Opportunity International has already started onboarding similar volunteer support from Australia and Singapore.
About Opportunity International
Opportunity International is a global non-profit celebrating 50 years of empowering people to work their way out of poverty. Opportunity provides 14.7 million households with innovative financial resources, training, and support to grow their small businesses and send their children to school. In 2019, Opportunity International and its partners released $3.1 billion in capital across 29 countries. The organization also funded 6,400 schools that reached 2 million students.
Opportunity International Leverages Network Across India to Provide Emergency COVID-19 Relief to Millions