17 October 2016– Opportunity International Australia said today’s United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty honours the millions of families in developing countries who are working hard to free themselves from poverty.
Opportunity Chief Executive Officer, Robert Dunn said: “The UN’s theme this year, ‘Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: Ending poverty in all its forms,’ is particularly pertinent to women, who make up 70 per cent of people living in poverty. These women are more excluded from financial services than men, leaving them financially dependent and disempowered.
“With 94 per cent of Opportunity’s loan recipients being women, this is an injustice we are steadily working to eradicate.
“Opportunity is committed to reaching families living in poverty in places such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines. In 2016 alone our outreach has grown 16 per cent, with 3.9 million families currently accessing small loans to start a business, earn regular incomes and work their way out of poverty.
“Last month I visited some of the women who are using microfinance loans to build small businesses. They are living in rural communities outside of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh – one of the poorest states in India.
“They raise buffaloes for milk, grow rice and run small shops. These businesses enable them to pay their children’s school fees and change the future of the next generation.
“I met a couple – Sunita & Bharat – and their two employees as they were making clay lamps. They’re earning enough to pay for their children’s school fees,” he stated.
Opportunity Council Member and Former Australian Test Cricketer Michael Kasprowicz also recently visited Opportunity clients from Delhi, India and commented: “Seeing firsthand the impact of small loans empowering parents to meet the needs of their children, was so rewarding.
“Kids can dream of becoming whatever they want in the future, whether it be sportspeople or teachers, because they know their parents can afford to give them an education. It’s the way it should be.”
In honour of the UN’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and Australia’s Anti-Poverty Week (16-22 October), Opportunity is inviting Australians to get behind the Great Australian Curry. Robert Dunn added: “The funds raised through the Great Australian Curry campaign will help families in India, Indonesia and the Philippines begin to leave poverty behind.”
Media and Communications Manager
Opportunity International Australia
02 9270 3332; 0408 256 381