About Us Endorsements
Read endorsements of microfinance and Opportunity International's work with families living in poverty.
Sylvia Mathews, former President of the Global Development Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget
Expanding access to basic banking and insurance services is a critical tool to give poor people the resources and opportunities to help lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Opportunity International is one of the most capable and innovative organisations working on these issues worldwide and we are very pleased to be able to help them expand and scale up their operation.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
One of the examples of innovations is from Malawi where Opportunity International created a program for farmers where when they sell their products they are able to deposit into this digital savings account. And they can be explicit about what they want set aside for seeds or fertiliser to plant in the next year. And what we are seeing is that those who have the opportunity to participate in this program were six to seven times more likely to use new seeds and fertiliser in that next planting season. And so they were able to receive the benefits of that higher productivity and then, year-by-year, lift themselves out of poverty.
Princess Royal (Princess Anne)
I've been involved with work in developing countries for a long time and I wish that Opportunity International had been around much earlier to underpin the work that local people did, both for their own businesses and for each other.
Bono, musician and activist
Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Give a woman microcredit, she, her husband, her children and her extended family will eat for a lifetime.”
Jeffrey Sachs, economist and author of ‘The End of Poverty’
The key to ending extreme poverty is to enable the poorest of the poor to get their foot on the ladder of development. The ladder of development hovers overhead, and the poorest of the poor are stuck beneath it. They lack the minimum amount of capital necessary to get a foothold, and therefore need a boost up to the first rung.
Allan English, founder and Chairman of Silver Chef and Director of the English Family Foundation
As a foundation, we get many grant applications. I developed a grant making philosophy called ‘depth and span’ to filter quality projects. Depth refers to the degree of transformation as an individual or a family or a community. Span refers to the number of times this can be repeated for the one grant or another way of saying bang for your buck. Opportunity International Australia is rated at a 10 which is our highest ranking and, accordingly, is our largest grant recipient.
Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General
Sustainable access to microfinance helps to alleviate poverty by generating income, creating jobs, allowing children to go to school, enabling families to obtain health care, and empowering people to make the choices that best serve their needs.
Carly Fiorina, Chair of Fiorina Foundation; Former Chairman & CEO of Hewlett-Packard Company
I believe eradicating poverty is a choice we should make, and I believe it is a result we can achieve, if we focus on the right tools, the right people, and the right organisations…I believe Opportunity International is an organisation that not only has its heart in the right place, but is building a systemic, sustainable solution to the world’s poverty.
Cherie Blair, Foundation for Women founder
[Opportunity International’s] work helping women to obtain microfinancing is inspirational to the women’s economic empowerment movement, especially your innovative mobile banking platforms. Your work resonates well, having had my own experiences of meeting women around the world who lack equal opportunities. I have seen the potential that is being wasted and the role that women can play if given the chance. With the right support, women can overcome the challenges they face and play an important part in strengthening their economies and societies. Opportunity International has been integral in helping women to become financially independent, and giving them a greater voice within their own families and communities. In short, we all gain through the contribution of able women.
Tony Campolo, Professor Emeritus, Eastern University
Opportunity International [is] helping to create hundreds of small businesses and cottage industries that the poor of the world can own and run themselves. What better way is there to carry out Christ’s mandate to help the poor…I have seen firsthand the good work done by Opportunity International and know that hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created by its efforts.
Natalie Portman, actress
Microcredit is about giving hope. When you're talking about making loans to women whose income is less than $1 a day, you can easily make the leap to see what a microloan can make possible. The women I’ve met…are so resourceful, and it’s just amazing to see how, with their courage and diligence, they create small businesses with such tiny amounts of money. These women work so hard, and they manage to pay off their loans, and the first thing they do is educate and feed their kids. It’s amazing that the world is not investing more in this resource.
Leonie Walton, Executive Director of the Australian Indonesia Business Council
The Australian Indonesian Business Council applauds the work Opportunity International Australia undertakes within Indonesia and the Asian region. Through microfinance and development programs, Opportunity International Australia is helping Indonesian families improve standards of education, health outcomes and the quality of life for our closest neighbour.
Annie Crawford, founder of CanToo and Opportunity Ambassador
Microfinance makes a difference. It gives a hand up to a woman, her family and the community in which she lives. It is making a difference to people’s lives, but the difference is with dignity because we are business partners with the women we support – we are not donors. Some people feel paralysed by the size of the issue of poverty. However…even one life is worth helping. Everyone we can assist is a mother, a sister, a friend, a daughter to someone. They all count.
Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church
From the bottom of my heart, I believe in Opportunity International. This organisation is like the starter dough our neighbour gave Mom to make sourdough bread. When you give people the opportunity to create wealth, you help them for the rest of their life. We dream of the day when every person in the world has starter dough.
Peter Cadwallader, Executive Chairman of the Intercontinental Shipping and Investment Group and Opportunity Council member
It never ceases to amaze me how a very small amount of money can cause such a large and positive effect in the lives of extremely poor people and their families. The Opportunity framework of micro enterprise development enables this to happen and really compels one to give it one’s full support.
Malcolm Broomhead, Director of BHP Billiton and Coates Group Holdings, Chairman of Asciano and Opportunity Council member
By offering small loans to people in poverty, Opportunity International Australia gives them a ‘hand up’. It teaches people business skills. It gets them a credit history so they can then get into the formal financial system. It gives them a sense of community and of contribution to their community. It gives them hope. But most of all, it gives them a sense of self-esteem, empowerment and ownership of their jobs and their lives. I just think it is a great model for helping people.
The Hon Kristina Keneally, former NSW Premier and Opportunity Council member
Australians can change the world, one woman, one family, one life at a time. And just one donation to Opportunity International Australia can be recycled six or seven times, helping the world’s most poor people get not just a hand-out, but a hand up, taking themselves and their families out of crushing poverty to sustainable lives and hopeful futures. I've seen the work that Opportunity International Australia does first-hand, sitting on the ground in a desperately poor slum in Mumbai with Opportunity’s microfinance clients, or visiting women in their one-room homes in Delhi. The women I met were positive, hardworking, determined and focused on making their family and community’s future better. With loans as small as A$60, these women were building sustainable businesses and taking their family out of desperate poverty, transforming their lives forever.
Rosa Storelli, past Opportunity Council member
Too often we take for granted or assume opportunities given to us are our entitlements or rites of passage and rarely do we acknowledge their true value. I have witnessed the work of Opportunity International Australia, seen the changes and benefits for others, so felt my small contribution could be through sharing some of the opportunities life has bestowed on me.
Millie Telan, Immediate Past President, Australia Philippines Business Council and Principal, Andreyev Doman Lawyers
I love the way Opportunity permanently transforms the lives of so many people in a big way – by investing just small amounts of money in its beneficiaries! Opportunity helps them move from poverty to self-sufficiency, which in turn gives them a sense of empowerment and a feeling of elevated social well-being. Opportunity uses its resources effectively and efficiently, and is financially transparent for which I applaud its management team.
Caji DeSouza, Chartered Accountant, former CFO at Suncorp Metway and past President of Queensland Chamber of Commerce & Industry
I joined an Insight Trip with Opportunity in 2007 and witnessed first-hand how this ‘hand up’ was helping these very poor women to become self sufficient. It was clear that these women took a lot of pride in providing for their children and grandchildren, helping provide them with an education and break the cycle of poverty. With my family originally from India, I have a real passion for Opportunity’s work in India and for encouraging others with similar connections to India to get behind the tangible impact these programs are having.
Simon McKeon, Australian of the Year 2011
The demand for microfinance in the developing world remains very strong and it is important that organisations like Opportunity International can continue to grow to respond to such demand, much of which is unmet. And, of course, microfinance, when properly executed, is not only extraordinarily transforming for a community but is, in particular, empowering for women.