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Communities of Opportunity

One out of every two people on this planet struggles to feed and educate their children. When powered by opportunity, they have a chance to work their way out of poverty and transform their lives. For 45 years, Opportunity International has provided the savings, loans, training and insurance that all people need to create a better future for their families and their communities.

About this project

The goal of this initiative is to bring together a group of passionate supporters of Opportunity International and their friends from the Raleigh-Durham-Cary Triangle to make a lasting difference for families living in poverty. A total of $1 million raised will provide microfinance services to benefit over 50,000 people in the Congo, Uganda and Colombia over the next 5 years.

Each “Community of Hope” will establish a branch office or similar operation in a new geographic area to fund 2,500 new micro-businesses with their initial loans. Each branch team will have 20 staff members, with about half being loan officers. The loan officers will be responsible for establishing 10 Trust Groups of about 25 members each. Many more people will open savings accounts. In this way, the Raleigh-Durham-Cary initiative will invest in a virtuous cycle that is able to accumulate community capital to support local entrepreneurs to grow businesses and create jobs for others. As loans are repaid and recycled and deposits accumulate, the impact will multiply over time.

Your support will help

By giving, you will be empowering three impoverished communities around the globe by helping provide microfinance services in three countries.

Sincelejo, Colombia: Sincelejo is the capital of the region of Sucre on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Despite fertile lands and its excellent location for trade, the city has been inhibited by the presence of armed groups who controlled the roads and instilled curfews for the people. A further result of these armed groups was the immigration of nearly 70,000 displaced people from the countryside, seeking refuge from the violence. In the last six years, the government succeeded in opening up the region. However, approximately 65% of the current population lives under the poverty line. The people of Sincelejo need jobs and access to capital to revitalize the once vibrant city.

Gambela Market, Kinshasa, DRC: The Gambela market, a large public market in Kinshasa DRC, is expected to be the location of the second branch of the newly opened Opportunity DRC bank. Less than 1% of the people living in DRC have access to a bank account. In 2006, Joseph Kabila became the first democratically elected president in the DR Congo in over 40 years. He liberalized domestic political activity and has undertaken economic reforms, working toward national stability and peace. Despite its history of violence, these new reforms have made it possible for those living in poverty to benefit from economic investments, like microfinance. We aim to reach 1,900 clients by the end of 2011, and 4,095 clients by end of 2012.

Mubende, Uganda: Mubende is a rural city in Uganda and the center of regional activity. Mubende is the most impoverished district in central Uganda. Nearly 95% of Ugandans do not have access to financial services. Opportunity intends to build a sustainable solution to the problem of poverty in agrarian communities by establishing a presence in Mubende, Uganda. Through this expansion, Mubende will become the hub of Opportunity’s rural and agricultural focus in Uganda. Empowering individual communities in Uganda is key to transforming the country.