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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

1 in 4 people around the world live in poverty.

1 in 4

Surviving on less than US$3.20 a day, people struggle to afford even the basics, like food, shelter, or medicines. Living in poverty means they're often unable to provide education for their children, are more likely to experience hunger and poor sanitation, and often contract preventable illnesses, diminishing their capacity to work. As this cycle repeats itself, families living in poverty struggle to survive.

But there's a surprisingly simple solution: small loans.

Small businesses are often the only head start a family needs to break free from the cycle of poverty. Starting a business is next to impossible without capital—no matter where you live—but it can provide incredible freedom.
That's where Opportunity comes in.

Small loans—on average around $100—give families the ability to purchase the tools they need to start or grow their source of income. With help from trusted local partners, Opportunity provides these small loans and financial training to individuals who are determined to leave poverty behind for good.

Some spend their loans on a sewing machine or material to start a tailoring business, others on bulk goods which they resell for a profit, and others on animals, like chickens or cows, that can provide food items to sell. And once their business is up and running, these families pay back their loans, allowing Opportunity's partners to re-lend the same funds to other families in need.

It's a smart, scalable and sustainable way to end poverty, once and for all.

When Uma’s husband passed away suddenly, Uma was left to raise their four young boys alone. She rented out a room in their small house, but the rent wasn’t enough to cover their expenses. With no other way to earn the income they needed, she turned to what she knew best – sewing.

For three years Uma tailored ladies’ garments by hand from her home but struggled with the amount of time it took her to complete the garments. She applied and received a small loan from Opportunity’s partner, ESAF, which she used to purchase a sewing machine. Now able to work faster, her business grew rapidly, allowing her to pay back her original loan and take out additional ones: one to dig a well, and one to start a small shop. 

Her days began early and ended late, with the shop opening at 6am and not closing until 11pm. With both her sewing business and the shop – and four hungry boys – it was a struggle to get everything done. “I spent a lot of time in that shop,” she says. “I had one foot in the shop and one in the kitchen!”

But the hard work paid off. In the ten years since she took out her first loan, Uma’s business has expanded into something almost unrecognisable. With additional loan cycles Uma has purchased more sewing machines and more materials. She now runs a garment factory in multi-level building she constructed above her house and pays around 30 tailors to produce the fashionable garments that are in high demand in her community – a thriving, profitable business that began with a single sewing machine.

“I never stop working,” she says. “If you don’t do anything, you can’t get anything – do hard work and you will move forward. It’s every woman’s responsibility.”

You can help today.

Each $100 you give can fund a small loan for a family in need.


Donate today to help Opportunity International Australia give a head start to families in Asia, providing the tools to help break the cycle of poverty for good.

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