Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Announcement: Photos for Opportunity

Yesterday I uploaded some of my photography to RedBubble, so you can now buy cards or prints to help raise funds for this life changing project. Cards cost AU$5.25 each and all proceeds ($1.75 of each card) will go directly to this Opportunity International Trust Bank fundraising project. So order like, a hundred! :)


You can also purchase a laminated print for $22.50, with the proceeds of $7.50 going towards this project. Even prints for your wall are available. I hope you enjoy the the photos! I'm really impressed at how easy this was to set up!Let me know if you have any special requests for photos and I'll have a go!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Your opportunity to shout out for something

I'm continuously amazed by the encouragement and support of friends during my Opportunity Australia Ambassadorship. Just when you think the next project won't come together, somebody gives you the right advice, somebody takes a moment to help out and it comes alive again. Yay for collaboration!

Here's a little update on the Shout Out Project which is happening over the next few weeks.

Also I'm thrilled that some amazing women around the world, like Eileen Clegg (look at her Engelbart mural!) will be sharing some inspirational messages on the power of using your creative voice for positive change. You can view these at the event on a digital wall show and I hope to upload them to YouTube afterwards.

You can still submit your photos or artwork on Flickr, on your blog or email wonderwebby at

Here are some words to help you think of an image. What will you shout out for?

some words to shout out for

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Suffering and Compassion

This week has been emotional and devastating to so many Australians due to the ferocious bushfires that tore through our countryside (and continue to burn). Our nation is grieving for the hundreds of lives lost through fires. I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss and pain of so many.

The response by Australians and our friends overseas is heartening and comforting. Walking through the city, you see signs from businesses trying to raise money for the victims. Our preschool is having a fundraising week and our community is finding ways to help victims now, and ongoing. Corporate Australia is assisting. People everywhere are pulling together to find ways to help, however they can. I created a list of ways to help on my regular blog Wonderwebby and now up-to-date information can be found on Our volunteer firefighters, the CFS, SES, Department of Human Services, Salvos, Red Cross....all doing such an amazing, incredible job in helping those suddenly in desperate need.

These tragic events have also led me to consider my fundraising efforts for Opportunity Australia. The great need of those living overseas in poverty continues. Still, I can't bring myself to do any publicity this week for the fundraising event I was planning. I'm considering canceling it or postponing for the moment while we grieve and come to terms with the great loss our state has endured. The hearts and minds of Victorians right now are focused on ways to help our neighboring communities. I will persevere with my ambassadorship shortly, but this week my heart also goes out to those affected by the Victorian Bushfires. Thank you to the many who are helping.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why I chose Opportunity instead of Kiva

It's incredible how many people mention 'Kiva' as soon as they find out I am raising money for a microfinance project. Kiva seems to have quite a high profile on Twitter, perhaps because they created the world’s first peer-to-peer microloan website.

So why did I decide to raise money for Opportunity International, not Kiva?
(Full disclosure - I have been an ambassador with Opportunity Australia since September last year. This is an unpaid role, and something I do in my own time. I wanted to make a difference and when I heard about Opportunity, it just 'sat right' with me. This post is just my opinion based on information I have researched.)

So first let me share a bit of background about the non-profit Kiva partners with microfinance institutions (MFIs) to provide loans to the poor through one-to-one connections. From what I know, when you donate to them the money goes to and is then sent to their partner MFIs who distribute the loans to clients. You can communicate with the actual business owner and once the loan is repaid you can decide whether to withdraw it or reloan it. Many entreprenuers are reasonably well established and funded by a number of lenders. Kiva has a relationship with Opportunity as Kiva cofounder Jessica Jackley Flannery is on the Opportunity International Board of Directors. Overall Kiva seems to be doing a really good thing.

But THIS is what I like about Opportunity Australia :)
  • They provide loans to clients learning less than US$2 a day - specifically targeting people living below the poverty line
  • They offer more than just loans- a Trust Bank program I'm raising money for includes loans AND business training and community enterprise development to assist a whole community out of poverty.
  • They help the poor to start a business, and offer important financial services such as microinsurance and microsavings.
  • They have been around for 35 years - they are expererienced
  • Each gift is tax deductible and each gift is recycled.
  • I really like their focus on empowerment and community building (beyond just a loan)
  • There are people ready and WAITING to get their Trust Bank going. As soon as I raise the funds the program can start. Even if I only raise AU$5,000 (half of my target) I can still partner with another ambassador to create a Trust Bank.
So, while I know Kiva seems to be doing a really good thing, I naturally gravitated towards Opportunity when I heard about it. Now it's just a matter of raising the money! You might have thought about creating a small 1:1 loan for US$25 with Kiva BUT if I can find just over 200 people to donate the same $25 then we will have raised enough money together to support at UP TO 30 women from the same community with hundrends of dollars worth of loans each, PLUS education and personal empowerment to change their community. Can you tell I'm just a little bit excited by the possiblity? :)

Anyhow, I hope that explains some of the differences and similarities between two organisations, both set up to help the poor rise up against poverty. It's something each person is capable of doing.