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

Telephone: 1800 812 164

© 2020 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.

Breaking the cycle of poverty

by Opportunity International Australia

Marta holds cooking salt ready for sale in Oebelo, Indonesia. Photo © Sara Bolst  Growing up in Oebelo, Indonesia, Marta’s family depended on income from selling salt to meet their daily needs. At 15, Marta dropped out of school to help her parents with their business.  “My parents were poor so they could not send us to school. All I wanted was to graduate from high school,” Marta said. “I felt regret but what can we do, our parents were poor so we should help them. I didn’t have any…

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Sangeeta's sewing success

by Opportunity International Australia

Sangeeta and her son at her tailoring business in Nagpur, India. © Kim Landy  Growing up in Nagpur, India, Sangeeta left school early to enter the workforce. There was barely enough food and her family just managed to get by. Sangeeta needed to earn money, so she began sewing at a local business. She worked seven days a week mending dresses and used her income to help provide for her family.  “I brought groceries for home as we were not able to eat good food,” she said.  Eventually, Sangeeta’s…

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The power of digital finance in a pandemic

by Opportunity International Australia

Technology is helping women access their finances without the need to travel to a bank branch. © Opportunity International US Accessing and managing money is one of the biggest challenges for people living in poverty – yet it is essential for them to unlock basic services. As we move towards an increasingly digitalised world, how do we ensure they aren’t left behind? Opportunity International’s Digital Financial Services team explains.  Digital financial inclusion is driving the next wave…

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Gender-based violence: "The Shadow Pandemic"

by Opportunity International Australia

In India, the National Commission for Women reported a rise of 94 per cent in complaint cases where women have been abused in their homes during lockdown. © Kim Landy  For every three months of lockdown due to COVID-19, an estimated 15 million people—mostly women and girls—have suffered from gender-based violence, globally. Since the start of the pandemic, multiple international agencies and national activists have raised a red flag about the increase in gender-based violence (GBV).   “The…

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University study links Opportunity’s School Improvement Loans with improved educational outcomes

by Opportunity International Australia

Students at a school in Nagpur, India. With the assistance of School Improvement Loans, schools can buy textbooks, build toilet blocks, purchase materials, and invest in teacher salaries. © Kim Landy A recent study conducted by the University of Chicago’s Center for RISC in partnership with Opportunity, shows the importance of Opportunity’s EduFinance Program to improve educational outcomes for children. “This is the first evidence we have that the EduFinance program is not only increasing…

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Turning tempeh into opportunity

by Opportunity International Australia

Asria started her own business making and selling tempeh. The income helps her pay for her children's school fees. © Sarah Gray The importance of education can be seen through Asria's story. Each day Asria rises in the early hours of the morning to prepare tempeh. She boils, peels and dries soybeans before mixing them with yeast. It’s a valuable skill she learnt from her older sister.  Before Asria started her tempeh business, she worked in the paddy fields as a rice grinder – tough, physical…

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Why are you so passionate about Opportunity?

by Opportunity International Australia

2020 has been a tumultuous year. While the entire world has been touched by COVID-19, those living in poverty have been disproportionately affected and will need significant time and help to recover. We asked our Board why they’re so passionate about Opportunity and why Opportunity is well placed to help so many come through the COVID-19 pandemic.   “I believe in the power of helping women to help themselves.” - Susan Overall  Q: Why are you so passionate about Opportunity?  Joanna White: I’ve…

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Closing the gender gap

by Opportunity International Australia

Women earn less, own less and learn less than men. For women living in poverty, their ability to save and borrow is further limited. So how can microfinance help close the gender gap and improve lives?    Who are the unbanked? According to the World Bank, a person is financially included if they have “access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs, transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance.” Globally, about 1.7 billion people remain unbanked…

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Heni grows a better life

by Opportunity International Australia

Heni (middle) with her husband and son Yardi at their community garden. © Sarah Gray Each day Heni carefully tends to her garden where she grows an assortment of fruits, vegetables and her son’s favourite, dragon fruit. It’s a job that she takes great pride in.   \"We take care of the plants… we plant the onions and wait for them to grow, and we water them. That is what we do every day,” Heni said.  For many families living on Rote Island, Indonesia, farming and fishing are their main…

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For the love of entrepreneurs

by Veronika Peters

Allan and Tessa English have been Opportunity supporters for 20 years. Allan is the founder of SilverChef*, a company that provides hospitality equipment finance. Opportunity’s Veronika Peters talked with Allan about the state of the world, his journey as an entrepreneur and his passion to empower other entrepreneurs. Veronika Peters: How has isolation changed your day-to-day life?  ALLAN ENGLISH: My diary has shifted from a lot of ‘doing’ to ‘being.’ I am enjoying the change of pace…

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