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Sydney South NSW 1235, Level 11, 227 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: 1800 812 164

© 2019 Opportunity International AustraliaABN 83 003 805 043

News & Stories Blog

World news on the fight to alleviate poverty – follow innovations in microfinance, technology and community development that are changing lives in developing countries.

The Man Who Likes People

by Matthew Smeal, National Communications Manager

In 2019, Dr Timothy Wright will step down as headmaster of the exclusive Shore school, a position he has held since 2003. Something he will step up to is philanthropy, specifically as a council member for Opportunity International Australia. Opportunity’s National Communications Manager—and Shore old boy—Matthew Smeal, took the opportunity to talk with Dr Wright about his appointment to the Council and how he believed a school like Shore—whose students, by Dr Wright’s own admission come…

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The Power of a Movement

by Veronika Peters, Chief Philanthropy Officer

It was late in the evening, at the end of our national dinner. Our speakers had shared about their dream to end poverty. I was excited about the atmosphere in the room. There was a sense of community and anticipation, of endless possibilities and inspiration. People were talking and nobody wanted to leave despite the event having finished a half hour before. Then one of our faithful long-term supporters leaned across the table and asked: “Do you genuinely think ending poverty is possible?” The…

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Breaking the cycle of extreme poverty

by Opportunity International Australia

It’s a warm, humid day near the top of a hill in Pampanga, on the Philippine island of Luzon. Nanny Bonna is visibly upset as she recounts the anguish of having her children not attend school. “All I want for my children is to send them to school,” she says. “We have eyes but cannot even read.” The importance of an education and what it would mean for her children is not lost on Nanny Bonna. “My children will not be easily fooled. They will know how to read and to even count money,”…

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Sewing the future

by Opportunity International Australia

Manda at work on her sewing machine, purchased with the help of a small loan. Photo: Kim Landy When Manda lost her husband to suicide, leaving her alone with two young children, she knew she needed a way to earn an income – fast. She rented out a room in her home as a temporary way to make ends meet, and quickly found that her tenant had sewing skills – skills she would be willing to share. With the help of a small loan, Manda purchased a sewing machine and took sewing lessons from her tenant…

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Finding a needle in a haystack

by Opportunity International Australia

In August 2018, the Indian state of Kerala endured the worst flooding in a century. Around 500 people lost their lives while more than 1 million were evacuated from their homes. They returned to widespread destruction. On the anniversary of last year's deluge, Kerala is once again enduring catastrophic flooding, with floodwaters washing away homes and livelihoods, leaving families stranded. For families struggling in the aftermath of a natural disaster, accessing funds is key to rebuilding their…

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Three minutes

by Jessica Carter

What did you do in the last three minutes? Chat to a friend? Scroll Instagram? Eat some lunch? Do you know what else happened? A girl was sold in India. And in the next three minutes, another girl will be sold too. Every three minutes a girl in India is sold into slavery. Her average age is 12.1 I recently attended the first Asian Anti-Trafficking Forum, hosted by Opportunity International’s program partner My Choices Foundation. The forum was attended by over 90 Indian, Bangladeshi and Nepalese…

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My Choices: Building Strong Women and Good Fathers

by Elca Grobler

Providing small loans to women is often the solution that allows families to lift themselves out of poverty. But what happens when those women—a staggering 50 per cent of women in India—are suffering abuse at the hands of their husbands? Elca Grobler, founder of Opportunity International Australia's partner My Choices Foundation, journeyed to India to help women leave poverty behind through microfinance. What she saw changed the way she thought about ending poverty. Elca shared with us how the…

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What I saw

by Jemma Holden

In March 2019, 19-year-old Jemma Holden travelled from the UK to India to see Opportunity's health programs for herself. She reflects on her journey below. Jemma with Jessica Carter (Opportunity International Australia's Asia Health Program Director) and Poonam Kumari, a Community Health Leader, in Aurangabad, India. Photo by Jemma Holden. I had always wondered how a week in rural India would pan out and had thought about what sights and scenes would affect me most. I assumed I’d find the intense…

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From Bohemian Rhapsody to ending world poverty

by Veronika Peters, Chief Philanthropy Officer

It was a long flight and a movie about Freddy Mercury seemed in perfect order. The summary said: “The events in the lead up to “Live Aid”. Within two hours I was transported back to the eighties, and if I could have cranked the Queen songs up any louder in my seat, I would have. I was taken back to when I first saw the photos of the Ethiopia famine, of starving men, women and children—who could forget those images—and remembering Bob Geldof's call to mobilise the world to do something about…

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Why girls?

by Opportunity International Australia

“The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.” — Charles Malik Sikander and Sindhu never wanted a girl. In their home village of Nagpur, India, they dreamed of a different life – a life with sons. Yet whenever Sindhu gave birth, it was to a girl. They went on to have five daughters, each time hoping the child would be a son. “In India, the boy is considered the higher of the house,” Sikander said. “I felt I needed a boy to help me provide in the future.”…

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