About Us About Us
Opportunity International Australia gives families in developing countries the tools they need to work their way out of poverty so they can live safe, healthy lives, send their children to school and create a new future for generations to come.
Don’t fight poverty – end it.
An Australian beginning
Opportunity International was founded in the 1970s by two businessmen, Australian entrepreneur David Bussau and American Al Whittaker. David was living in Indonesia, while Al was in Columbia. The local communities were poor, disempowered and lacking in hope. But David and Al recognised the clever business ideas of the local people who wanted to work but were too poor to access funding from formal financial institutions, and as a result, were without opportunity.
They responded by offering them small loans and a hand up out of poverty.
David’s loan of $50 went to a poor farmer named Ketut. With this $50, Ketut was able to buy a sewing machine and start a tailoring business, earning a regular income and helping his family leave poverty behind. Ketut even went on to run an import/export business and own a fleet of taxis, providing employment for other people in his community, too.
A global impact
Opportunity International Australia is part of the global Opportunity Network, a leading provider and pioneer of socially-focused microfinance, helping you provide a hand up to millions of families in more than 20 countries around the world – families like Riza’s, pictured above.
Our vision is a world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose.
By providing financial solutions and training, we empower people living in poverty to transform their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.
We respond to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor. We seek to emulate the Good Samaritan, whose compassion crossed ethnic groups and religions. We serve all people regardless of race, faith, ethnicity and gender. Read more about the importance of relationships in our work.
Commitment to our clients and their transformation
Humility a spirit of serving in all we do
Respect consideration shown to all people and a commitment to teamwork
Integrity living our values with transparency and consistency
Stewardship accountability, innovation and urgency
Transformation our ultimate goal in ourselves and others.
- We support local microfinance organisations that provide innovative financial solutions to empower people, create jobs and build vibrant communities.
- We create innovative partnerships to provide complementary services to our clients.
- We seek to impact the lives of our clients, staff and supporters.
- Our products, services and training enable clients to develop businesses, to save and to insure against an uncertain future.
- We strengthen and influence value chains to benefit our clients, connect them to viable markets and drive economic progress.
- Our programs provide opportunities for families living in poverty to transform their lives by giving them a hand up, not a hand-out. We seek to help the poorest of the poor wherever possible. While we aim to ensure the sustainability of our program partners, our primary focus is not economic return – our return is seeing people’s lives transformed. Read more about why we exist.
- We deeply value relationships. How we go about our work is fundamentally important to us. We strive to have our values reflected in all we do.
- We are a long-term, strategic partner. We support our program partners with funding as well as much-needed technical and operational assistance, empowering them to reach out to people in poverty in their area.
- We don’t stop with microfinance. As well as small loans, savings, micro-insurance, micro-pensions and remittances, we provide people in poverty with non-financial services and training to strengthen their businesses and develop their communities.
- Because loans are repaid and lent out again, each donation can go on to help more and more families out of poverty over time.