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PO Box A524
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.

Hot Off The Press: Insight Newsletter

by Stephanie Hristovska

There’s a lot of food for thought in the latest issue of Insight – in more ways than one! Read about how Opportunity programs in China are growing businesses, creating jobs and transforming lives, helping stop people living in poverty in rural areas from being left behind. Get the low-down on Food for Thought, Opportunity’s annual fundraising campaign. By sharing a meal with your friends or family during September or October and encouraging them to donate to show their support, you can help…

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A Visit To The Slum

by Benjamin Freeman

Last Friday I visited one of the largest slums in Manila with Mark Daniels, Opportunity’s Philippines Director. In my time in the Philippines so far I’ve met mainly with families in regional areas in their homes. Though they’re located in very poor areas, these homes have generally been quite beautiful in their simplicity – lots of bamboo huts on acres of green farmland. The slum was a different experience entirely. For me, slums have always been pretty hard to visualise, no matter how much…

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The Importance Of Being Kindness

by Benjamin Freeman

Earlier this year I watched a graduation speech given by an author I like, George Saunders. Typically I’m not one for these kinds of inspirational messages but I thought I would give it a go. In the speech, George talks to a bunch of graduates from an elite college in America about the importance of kindness. The following quote has stuck with me: What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…

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Food For Thought: Dinner with Dina

by Opportunity International Australia

It all started with a dream to start a sweets and pastry business back in 1989. Dina Lava, a mother-of-four from the Philippines, used to go knocking on office doors armed with baskets of pastries to sell in order to earn an income for her family. A small loan of Php.10,000 (A$301) enabled Dina to buy her own second-hand oven as well as dinnerware and kitchenware to expand her business. After years of hard work, Dina now owns a successful catering company and function centre. She even distributes…

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First Day Jitters

by Benjamin Freeman

Last Sunday I travelled about four hours from Manila to Cabanatuan City in the Philippines. Monday would be my first day meeting with families that have used small loans. I made several mistakes before walking out the door on Monday morning, the most notable of which was forgetting to put on insect repellent. There’s a typhoon here at the moment, which means that the rain is pretty consistent. I also forgot an umbrella and a pen. These mistakes plagued me quite a bit on the journey to the first…

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People Before Programs

by Stephanie Hristovska

There’s a saying I often hear in church or in organisations with social missions, “People before programs.” The idea is simple but profound: programs for the sake of programs are ineffective if they don’t meet the needs of the people involved in them. The people Opportunity works with are most often best placed to know what they need to transform their lives, their families and their communities. So it makes sense that, as an organisation with a social mission, Opportunity wants to give their…

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What To Expect When You're Not Expecting

by Benjamin Freeman

In a couple of weeks I leave for six months to spend time with families who have used small loans to start small businesses across India, Indonesia and the Philippines. I’ll be doing quite a few different things while I’m over there, one of which is to collect the stories of these families and share them with you. A pretty common question I’ve been asked lately is, “What do you expect it’s going to be like?” To be honest, I’m not too sure. I’ve been involved with Opportunity for a…

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Food For Thought: Ingredients of India

by Stephanie Hristovska

In a subcontinent that is home to more than 1 billion people, India has managed to preserve a lot of its traditional cuisine over the centuries. And not only that, each region in India displays its own style of cooking and distinct flavours. Take Beesamma’s chicken dopaiza curry for example – a dish hailing from the city of Hyderabad in Southern India. In Hyderabadi cuisine, the method of preparation and herbs and spices used often influence the name of a dish. Dopaiza literally means ‘onions…

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Food For Thought: Live From The Philippines

by Opportunity International Australia

Over the coming weeks, we’re excited to be bringing you a special blog series to celebrate our Food for Thought campaign, which runs throughout September and October every year. So what is Food for Thought? It’s a great excuse to enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends and make a difference at the same time! Enjoying good food is an important part of many cultures – bringing friends, families and even communities together like nothing else. This September and October, we’re inviting…

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Reaping Innovation In Rural Areas

by Lucinda Needham

In developing countries, geographic isolation is often a barrier to accessing the tools people need to leave poverty behind. While digital technologies have greatly improved the way people access money and communicate with each other, another key to making a real difference in isolated, rural areas is through the continuous innovation of products and services, tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals and communities. For example, in 2014, 17,504 farmers in the Philippines received tailored…

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