This Christmas, remind families like Marni
and Nikson’s they are not alone.

Christmas Appeal 2021


Sixteen-year-old Nikson had to grow up faster than most children. He was only five when his father left, but, as the eldest child, he felt he had to step up and help his family survive.

When her husband left, Marni and her three boys – Nikson, Oscar and Rio – moved from their rural village in Indonesia to Kupang in search of work. Having no education, Marni did whatever jobs she could, like laundry for the police base. “But I only got Rp.20,000-30,000 (A$1.92-2.88) a day.”

Still a child, Nikson stepped up to help shoulder the load, doing extra chores, picking up jobs in the neighbourhood and taking on the role of ‘dad’ for his brothers. “I am the eldest, so I need to take care of them,” Nikson says. For years, the family struggled to afford everything – rent, food, schooling.

Then Marni heard about the small loans being offered by Opportunity International Australia to help families grow their own small businesses. Thanks to a donation from someone like you, Marni received Rp.4,000,000 (A$384). “I used the loan to purchase vegetables to sell at market,” Marni says. Within a year, the stall was earning up to seventeen times what Marni once earned. The family no longer struggled to afford nutritious meals, rent or the children’s schooling.

But then, in early 2020, COVID-19 hit. Restrictions impacted the family greatly. Marni couldn’t access enough vegetables and found it difficult to make profit. To make matters worse, she had to buy mobile phones for her sons so they could continue studying once schools locked down. “I was overwhelmed,” she says.

Just like before, Nikson has helped his mother shoulder the load throughout the pandemic. “I wake at 5am,” he says. “I make the bed, brush my teeth, sweep, mop the floor and cook rice for my brothers.” “Nikson is a diligent boy,” says Marni, who is hoping to use another small loan to rebuild her vegetable stall.

This Christmas, your donation can give families like Marni and Nikson’s the hand up they need to kickstart their businesses once more and recover from the decimation of the last two years.

Around the world, the weight of COVID-19 has been disproportionately borne by families living in poverty. Findings from the World Bank observe that 97 million people were pushed back into poverty in 2020 – people like Marni, Nikson and his brothers.

This Christmas, you can be there to help shoulder the load for families in poverty, to help them rebuild. A small loan helped Marni before – it can help her again.

Please donate today.


Marni, Oscar, Rio and Nikson.
Marni at the vegetable stall she started with a small loan.
Nikson completes his school work from home.
Rio helps Marni peel vegetables at the local market.
Oscar takes care to comb his hair before school.
Nikson, Oscar and Rio enjoy a game of football.
Access to fruits and vegetables have been limited since COVID-19 hit.


1 in 5

people in Indonesia live in poverty.

97 million

people are estimated to have been pushed back into extreme poverty by the COVID-19 pandemic.

6.1 million

families are currently accessing small loans from Opportunity to help them leave poverty behind.

Why small loans?

A small loan can change everything for a family living in poverty

For families like Marni’s, surviving on less than A$3 a day means they can’t afford the basics – food, shelter, medicine or schooling. As this cycle repeats itself from generation to generation, families in poverty struggle to survive

A small loan can help a family build their own small business, earn a regular income and recover from COVID-19.

Here’s how it works:

1. Your donation is received 
Thanks to your support, we can reach out to families like Marni’s living in poverty.

2. Small loans are provided to families 
This loan helps them grow their small business and generate a regular income.

3. Impact is increased as businesses grow
With a regular income, families can afford food, shelter, education and healthcare, and businesses often employ others in the community.

4. Each small loan is repaid and recycled
98% of loans have historically been repaid and recycled, meaning that your donation helps more and more families over time.

Why you're needed

COVID-19 has increased global poverty rates

Findings from the World Bank observe that 97 million people were pushed back into poverty in 2020 – people like Marni, Nikson and his brothers.

For almost 25 years, extreme poverty was steadily declining. Now, for the first time in decades, it is increasing. COVID-19 threatens to reverse decades of progress.

As we look to a world post COVID-19, we can help families rebuild their livelihoods as well as improve their health, keep their children in school and help communities stay safe from domestic violence and trafficking.

Through Opportunity's microfinance program, as well as our work in health, education and women's safety, we're helping:

6,139,049 families
access small loans to grow their own businesses

7,460,527 people
access essential health training and services

116,817 schools and parents
access education loans

43,036 women
equip themselves via our safety programs on domestic violence and sex trafficking.