Annual Review


Annual Review


The Opportunity International Network Reaches

14M People In

24 Countries

Our Vision

A world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose.

Our Mission

By providing financial solutions and training, we empower people living in poverty to transform their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.

Our Motivation

We respond to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor. We seek to emulate the Good Samaritan, whose compassion crossed ethnic groups and religions. We serve all people regardless of race, faith, ethnicity and gender.

To find out more, visit

Where We Work

Support Members
Other Opportunity International Network programs
Opportunity International Australia programs

Opportunity Global Network Map

We provide client services in 28 countries and have support members in 8 countries.

  • Program Partner Countries
  • Bangladesh
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ghana
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Macedonia
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Romania
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Support Member Countries
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Opportunity International Australia Programs


1.4B Population
27% of people live below $2.50 a day
1 program partner reaching 6 communities


26M Population
64% of people live below $2.50 a day
1 program partner reaching 1 community


1.3B Population
74% of people live below $2.50 a day
12 program partners reaching 1,185 communities


250M Population
57% of people live below $2.50 a day
3 program partners reaching 304 communities


100M Population
53% of people live below $2.50 a day
3 program partners reaching 339 communities

2015 By The Numbers

2015 By The Numbers

How Your Support Changes Lives

How Your Support Changes Lives Graphic

Invest In A

Invest In A

2015 Highlights

2015 Highlights


invested in mothers across Asia

2015 Highlights


people with small loans to start businesses in Asia

2015 Highlights


people with access to savings accounts, enabling them to plan for the future and safeguard their families in emergencies

2015 Highlights


people covered by microinsurance, helping families be less vulnerable in times of hardship

2015 Highlights


people with access to micropensions, giving them more security in their later years

When you invest in a mother, you are giving her the opportunity to start or grow a small business with a small loan.

In the countries where we work, mothers are more likely to be involved in running their own small businesses. These typically include tailoring or craft businesses, food stalls or small shops.

Many fathers take up employment where they can, but earning only a few dollars a day, their income is often not enough to provide for the family.

In addition to small loans, mothers can open savings accounts, obtain insurance and apply for a pension scheme.

Earning a regular income, she can now afford her family’s basic needs such as nutritious food, proper shelter and education for her children. She is starting to break the cycle of poverty and her confidence, dignity and hope for the future is restored.

With your ongoing support, Opportunity is working to reach 4.6 million mothers with a hand up throughout Asia in 2016 by continuing to increase donations, establish new forms of funding and grow our Asia programs.

With small loans to start businesses alongside savings, pensions and insurance, more mothers will be able to give their families brighter futures.

Beatris' Story

When Beatris Sibay was growing up, mealtimes were tough. Although her parents were hardworking rice and corn farmers, she would often fight with her 10 siblings for rice because there was not enough for everyone. Her father often skipped meals so the children could eat.

Now with a husband and three teenage daughters, life is very different for Beatris. For starters, she has enough money to buy milk for her family. Before taking out a small loan of Php.5,000 (A$145) in 2009, they would use rice flour to make milk. Beatris used the loan to purchase 200kg of abaca (natural plant fibre) to start her own handicraft business making ropes.

Beatris now earns Php.100,000 (A$2,890) a month, almost 10 times her previous income. She employs 65 staff, giving others in her rural community of 800 people in Valerio, Philippines, the opportunity to earn incomes too.

She also has more than Php.129,000 (A$3,730) in savings and life insurance. She shares, “With these services I feel secure, knowing I won’t leave my children with nothing.”

Beatris’ daughters are all going to high school – something she missed out on due to growing up in poverty. They’ve also been able to build a stone house with electricity, water and a toilet.

Thank you for investing in mothers like Beatris and giving a family a hand up out of poverty in just one generation.



2015 Highlights

2015 Highlights


women trained as community health leaders in India

2015 Highlights


families reached by community health leaders in India

2015 Highlights


people reached with training in basic health practices that save lives through the health leaders in India

2015 Highlights


the number of people with access to hospitals through a partnership with the health leaders in India

2015 Highlights


women using sanitary napkins produced and sold by health leaders in India, improving the health and hygiene of women and girls

Many of the families Opportunity reaches live in rural villages or slum communities. With limited infrastructure, each day can be a struggle for them to access clean water, proper toilets and sanitation or medicine when they're sick.

That’s why we’re empowering local women to become community health leaders in places like India. These women support hundreds of households in their villages with training in illness prevention, basic first aid and nutrition advice, improving the wellbeing of whole communities.

With your ongoing support, Opportunity is aiming to reach more than 660,000 families with health education in India by the end of 2016.

We are also expanding the community health leader model into Indonesia in 2016 so communities there can access the same life-saving health training and resources to keep their families safe and healthy

Munni's Story

In a few short moments, Munni Begum went from being known as an ordinary housewife to a respected health leader in her local community in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states.

As part of her training to become a community health leader, Munni completed a Senior First Aid course. Without this knowledge, she wouldn’t have been able to save her cousin’s life.

Late one night after her training, Munni was woken from her sleep to attend to one of her cousins who had gotten into a fight and had swallowed fertilizer mixed with alcohol. Her aunt remembered that Munni was doing some kind of health training, so she called her.

During a very stressful situation, Munni remembered her first aid training and forced her cousin to drink a mixture of salt and water to make him throw up.

She immediately rushed him to hospital where doctors were able to stabilise him and they commended Munni for her knowledge and calm reaction.

Today her cousin is healthy and happy and Munni continues to spread awareness about health education in her community.

Thank you for building healthy communities through health leaders like Munni.



2015 Highlights

2015 Highlights


young people graduated as youth apprentices in Ghana

2015 Highlights


young people attending business and life-skills training in India

2015 Highlights


social businesses created or sustained in China

2015 Highlights


the number of children already impacted through The Opportunity International Network’s global edufinance program

Education and training opportunities are essential tools to give families a real chance of breaking the poverty cycle for good.

In Ghana, where 60 percent of unemployed people are aged 15-24, Opportunity is working to help disadvantaged youth learn a trade in anything from tailoring to carpentry. After their apprenticeships, they are able to start their own businesses and work towards more secure futures.

In China, our work focuses on growing local businesses so community leaders can create jobs for marginalised people in impoverished communities — empowering women, the elderly and people with disabilities to earn regular incomes so they can provide for themselves and their families.

Opportunity also helps its program partners train local leaders to identify families in need who may benefit from small loans in their local communities. Capacity building is enabling our programs to have greater depth and breadth whilst remaining sustainable and meeting people’s needs.

With your ongoing support, Opportunity is upskilling a new group of trade apprentices in Ghana in 2016 and will continue to grow social businesses in China to help reach even more marginalised people in poverty.

We are also launching Education Finance (edufinance) in 2016 which helps kickstart education for children living in poverty throughout Asia. With school fee loans and support for school proprietors in expanding classrooms, hiring more teachers and improving the quality of education, children and schools can thrive. As a result, economic growth is spurred in the entire community, breaking the cycle of poverty and transforming lives for generations to come.

Ge Dong-Qin's Story

Ge Dong-Qin is the owner of a garment factory that creates jobs for ‘left-behind’ women in Suyu, China.

A rapidly urbanising workforce in China has seen a large number of people move to major cities in search of jobs, just like Ge. She left home at the age of 16 to work in a sewing factory in Guangzhou, about 1,600km away from Suyu.

Such migration means that huge numbers of women and children are being left behind in their rural hometowns with little in the way of job opportunities. Other less mobile people, such as the elderly or those with a disability, are also left behind with no significant welfare system for support.

In Guangzhou, Ge learned many technical skills that she used to start her own business when she moved back to Suyu. However, due to a lack of capital, her business development was limited.

In 2011, Ge received her first loan which helped her buy more materials and sewing machines, as well as recruit more workers.

Since then, Ge has successfully expanded her business from five sewing machines to 40. Although she is still young, Ge has already created job opportunities for over 80 ‘left-behind’ women.

With her intelligence, energy and positivity, she has become a leader in her community and an inspiration for others, especially young girls who can see in her the infinite possibilities before them.

She looks forward to continuing to grow her business and creating more employment opportunities for local ‘left-behind’ women in Suyu.

Thank you for creating leaders like Ge so that they can lift their families and communities out of poverty.



2015 Highlights

2015 Highlights


farmers who have crop insurance and tailored agricultural loans in the Philippines

2015 Highlights


people monitoring their savings accounts on their mobile phones in India

2015 Highlights


Peacemakers trained in India to support survivors of domestic violence and their families

2015 Highlights


community members and school girls aged 12-17 educated by Peacemakers on gender equality, domestic violence, sexual abuse, child marriage and human trafficking so they can stop violence before it begins in the lives of young girls in India

Opportunity is always looking for new and tailored solutions to improve livelihoods and increase financial inclusion for families in rural areas.

Opportunity serves more than 2.5 million families in India, a country where domestic violence rates are high. In fact, 1 in 2 women in India have admitted to experiencing violence in their own homes. And if these women are in abusive relationships, it’s hard for them to be empowered to grow their own small businesses.

An innovative program in India is improving women’s livelihoods by training ‘Peacemakers’ to identify cases of domestic violence in their communities and supporting women to receive free counselling and legal aid. They also raise awareness and educate communities and schools about women’s rights.

We also provide innovative programs that enable farmers to have their unique needs met through tailored agricultural loans designed around the harvest cycle, crop insurance, training in farming methods and access to bigger markets.

Moreover, as many families living in poverty live in isolated, rural areas, they have limited access to financial services which are often located in town centres. Mobile banking and other technologies help reach these families, who are often the most needy.

With your ongoing support, Opportunity is aiming to increase financial inclusion with innovations in farming and technology in India and the Philippines and will also continue working alongside Peacemakers to reduce domestic violence in India.

Sameena's Story

Sameena has been a Peacemaker for more than two years. A former handbag decorator, Sameena was asked to join the program by a friend. While she was unsure at first, the role has given her new independence and respect in her community. Sameena handles an average of 10 cases of domestic violence a week. She is also a paralegal volunteer for the police who often refer cases to her.

When a case of domestic violence has been identified, she typically talks to the wife first, then the husband. She finds it challenging when the husband doesn’t understand what he is doing is wrong and is unwilling to change but this doesn’t happen often. She finds success in the fact that only one of her cases has ended in divorce.

That particular case was the most emotional for Sameena. The husband used to humiliate his wife, at one time even having an affair in front of her. The wife was going to burn herself and her children but Sameena intervened, working late into the night to prevent this from happening. After meeting with a couple, she typically arranges for the family to undergo counselling at one of the local counselling centres.

Although the job can be stressful at times, she is driven by a sense of duty and responsibility. “It’s like I’m going through it with them.”

Thank you for delivering innovative programs like the Peacemakers to improve livelihoods and transform communities.



2015 Highlights

2015 Highlights

Three quarters

the proportion of new clients surveyed in India living under $2.50 a day when they joined our programs. Currently, 2.5 billion people in the world are living below $2.50 a day. A large proportion are in the areas The Opportunity International Network works — India, Africa and East Asia, which shows that we are targeting people in need.

2015 Highlights


clients in Rwanda with mobile banking after Opportunity responded to their need for a less time-consuming and more secure way of making loan repayments. The reduction in the cost of delivering financial services is up to 80%, meaning that more people living in poverty can be reached with a wider range of services.

2015 Highlights


farmers in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe with transformed lives thanks to Opportunity’s agriculture loans, which have helped them improve their productivity, increase their incomes and better access food for their families.

When your goal is to give families a hand up out of poverty, you want to be sure that what you're doing is making a real difference.

Opportunity is a market leader in Social Performance Management, a way of ensuring that we understand families’ needs and are equipped to design products and services that will enable them to most effectively transform their futures and their communities.

Through Social Performance Management, we aim to answer three key questions to ensure that we are translating our social mission into reality:

  • Are we reaching people in need?
  • Are we meeting their needs?
  • Are we transforming their lives, and if so, how? is the new interactive website to visit for more data about how Opportunity is reaching families in need, responding to their needs and transforming their lives to enhance the impact of your giving.

With your ongoing support, we are working to equip all our program partners globally to make progress in implementing best practices in providing client-focused services that meet people’s needs.

We’re also continuing to work with our partners to embed a systematic approach to using social data that will in turn maximise outcomes for our clients. The use of technology will enable partners to effectively innovate to meet the changing and varying needs across the communities they serve.

Komida's Story

KOMIDA, one of Opportunity International Australia’s partners in Indonesia, has provided loans to people living in poverty for nearly a decade. It recently conducted an assessment of clients’ needs and found that many people required access to large sums of money to cover non-business costs in their communities and households such as medicine, funerals and festivals.

Without access to formal savings accounts, many of KOMIDA’s clients were simply unable to save to meet these needs. This meant they were forced to hold assets in cash, gold or other informal savings mechanisms, placing these assets at risk of loss or theft.

In response to these needs, KOMIDA developed a suite of interest-earning savings packages for clients to choose from. Clients are able to withdraw funds after four months, by which time they have accumulated a significant enough amount of savings to cover personal expenses. Since launching at the start of 2015, KOMIDA is now providing savings accounts to 19,454 people like Mrs. Suarti and her husband, who are market vendors.

As KOMIDA’s Social Performance Manager, Ruslianah Syaflie observes, “Before having savings accounts, many of KOMIDA’s clients were facing financial stress on an annual basis because of their commitments in cultural festivals, as well as other unexpected shocks. Our clients have been very excited by the (savings) product because they now have sufficient savings when they need them.”

KOMIDA has also shown a strong commitment to best practices in microfinance and aims to achieve Smart Certification in 2016, the highest standard in client protection.

Thank you for supporting Opportunity’s social mission as we find ways to continuously improve our programs and enhance the impact your giving is having on families in poverty.

Our Supporters

To the Opportunity family — supporters, Ambassadors, volunteers, staff, Board and Council members — thank you for all that you do to give a hand up to families in need. Your generosity transforms families’ lives for generations to come.

See how some of our supporters around Australia got creative while giving back this year.

Our Supporters

New South Wales

In New South Wales, Opportunity is grateful for the interns and volunteers who generously donate their time, energy and skills to help families out of poverty. In 2015, we had 32 volunteers in our Sydney office who collectively contributed more than 6,000 hours to our work, the equivalent of three full-time positions. We offer volunteer internships of four-month cycles as well as one-day-a-week volunteers who stay for a longer period of time.

Our Supporters


In Queensland, in addition to staff workplace giving matched by the company, long-time corporate supporter Silver Chef hosted a number of fundraising activities throughout 2015. Staff secured donations from customers and suppliers and, during Opportunity’s Food for Thought campaign, employees hosted an iPod shuffle party and Halloween bakeoff. Their marketing department also placed an exercise bike in the office and rode one kilometre for every $1 donated. Collectively, Silver Chef gave more than $100,000 in 2015 – what a tremendous effort!

Our Supporters

South Australia

In South Australia, Opportunity Ambassadors Gerald Lipman and Roslyn Foo together with alumni Ambassador Susan Lee hosted two black-tie gala dinners, Asia in SA and Sakai in SA in Adelaide. The events sought to strengthen economic and business links between South Australia and Asia, while also raising funds for Opportunity. More than 600 guests attended the events as well as a number of internationally renowned chefs, including Michelin 3-star restaurant owner Alvin Leung and legendary iron chef Hiroyuki Sakai. The events raised more than $28,000 for families in need.

Our Supporters


In Victoria, Chris Tate and Louise Bedford are financial traders, authors and run the business Many years ago, they noticed that traders from their Mentor Program often felt a sense of emptiness, even when they were making a lot of money. They observed that when people engaged in philanthropy, they were not only living back to their communities, but they also felt more content when they made profits out of the markets. As part of their trading Mentor Program, participants donate to Opportunity. In 2015, they raised over $17,000, which was able to help provide 243 families with small loans.

Our Supporters

Western Australia

In Western Australia, entrepreneurs David and Suzzanne Laidlaw use their businesses to help families in poverty start their own microenterprises. As a qualified yoga teacher, David uses one of his classes every week to ask participants for a donation instead of a fee. In 2015, he raised $2,508 for Opportunity. Suzzanne is a business coach and for every new one-on-one client she takes on, she also donates to Opportunity.

2015 Highlights


Total value of donations and government grants received


Total number of supporters


Total number of monthly givers


Amount provided through pro-bono support


Families given a hand up through Ambassador fundraising


Number of hours donated by Opportunity interns and volunteers


Number of people who like our Facebook page, along with 1,026 Twitter followers and 861 LinkedIn followers

Our Partners

To our corporate partners, thank you for all the support and resources you give to help families break the poverty cycle.

  • 4impact Group
  • Advanced Press
  • Allen & Overy
  • BHP Billiton
  • BlueChip Communication
  • Clifford Chance
  • Flexera Software
  • Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Independence Studios
  • Jetabroad
  • King & Wood Mallesons
  • Local Appliance Rentals
  • Macquarie Group
  • Morgans
  • Pilgrim International Communication Group
  • RMS Accountants
  • RogenSi
  • Salesforce
  • Silver Chef
  • Stannard Group
  • Westpac Group

To the Australian Government and the Australian Council for International Development, we thank you for your ongoing support and assistance, enabling us to continue to reach out to families in poverty around the world.


To succeed in development, trust and accountability are key. Good governance is a means of staying accountable and remaining worthy of this trust with all of our stakeholders — including supporters, the families in poverty that we serve, members, volunteers, employees and program partners.

Learn More About Governance

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of Opportunity including the oversight of the organisation, strategic planning, assessment of management capacity and input & approval of policies. The Board has delegated the responsibility of management, operation and administration to the Leadership Team, with whom it has open access to discuss current and future business issues, risks and strategies.

See the Board of Directors


The Council is a small group of respected and influential Australians who share their wisdom and experience with Opportunity, advocating on our behalf and encouraging others to get involved. We are so grateful to all of these inspiring people for their valued partnership — thank you for all that you do.

Learn More About the Council

Leadership Team

See Our Leadership Team


At the end of 2015, Opportunity had 25 full-time staff and 9 part-time staff in Australia as well as 1 overseas and the team from Dia Vikas in India.

Staff are supported through training and professional development to increase not just their own skills, but the capacity of the organisation as a whole.

Opportunity’s Health and Wellbeing Committee also provides practical advice and services to ensure staff are valued and are at their best physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Download the 2015 Financials Statements


A Note From the Chairman

Dear Opportunity family,

· The 25-year period established in 1990 to achieve the Millennium Development Goals ended in 2015. There is much to celebrate:

· From 1990 to 2015, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty halved.

· Nearly 2 billion more people gained access to clean drinking water.

· 173 million fewer people worldwide suffered from chronic hunger in 2011–13 than in 1990–92.

It’s becoming possible to imagine a world free from poverty. But much remains to be done. People living in poverty lack choices. A key to ending poverty is a comprehensive approach to financial inclusion addressing access, usage and quality of financial services and products, aiming for those living in poverty to reach their full potential.

This is where Opportunity International Australia comes in. We provide a bridge to financial inclusion for families living in poverty. For more than 45 years, Opportunity has been collaborating with visionary partners and supporters to deploy innovative financial services, business solutions and training — all increasingly enabled by technology — to help those living in poverty transform their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.

I hope you’re encouraged by reading the wonderful stories in this Annual Review of lives being transformed. Because without the help of everyone in the Opportunity family — supporters, Ambassadors, Board and Council members, partners, staff and volunteers — none of these would be possible.

Thank you for all the unique skills, experience and resources you offer as we seek tobring about a measure of justice, dignity and purpose for families living in poverty. With sincere thanks.

Edward Kerr Signature

Edward Kerr, Chairman

A Note from the CEO

"We’re on the road to providing more than 20 million opportunities by 2020 – and we know it’s possible thanks to you."

Robert Dunn
Chief Executive Officer
Opportunity International Australia

Read Full Note

The Road to 20 Million Opportunities by 2020

We believe that every person has the right to reach their full potential. And just like us, people living in poverty have dreams and hopes. But while talent is universal, opportunity is not.

With your ongoing support, here’s how we can change that equation and provide more than 20 million opportunities by 2020.

The Road to 20 Million Opportunities by 2020

Download the 2015 Annual Review


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