Friday, June 26, 2009

How Microcredit creates opportunity for women in poverty and how you can help today

You might have seen me tweet asking for donations for women living in poverty in the Philippines (4 days to go!) Here's a little explanation to help you understand what microcredit is and why I am raising funds for nonprofit Opportunity International Australia.

Opportunity Australia has been operating for 35 years, helping people living beneath the poverty line (less than US$1 a day) to establish successful small businesses through 'microcredit' which is a 'microfinance' service.

Opportunity Australia currently have around 1.4 Million active microcredit clients. That means they are helping 1.4 million people in India, the Philippines and Indonesia to learn business skills, generate an income, employ more people and provide a better future for their children.

Microcredit basically means that people, who are otherwise unable to secure finance to start a business, are able to get collateral free- loans so that they can buy a sewing machine, or buy a fruit cart, or whatever is needed to help them secure an income. As each business grows, loans are paid back and lent out again. 97% of Opportunity Australia's loans are repaid.

Most loans (around 90%) are made through a group lending method called Trust Groups, where 15-30 clients (mostly women) come together to co-guarantee each others loans. Each Trust Group chooses its own members who are drawn from the local community. They meet each week to repay their loans, share experiences and learn new skills. I LOVE this part of the trust group method - because it ENABLES women to succeed through a well designed 2 year development program. Here's a little video that explains some more:

So this is where I need your help to raise AU$10,000 to create a Trust Group in the Philippines. Over $5,700 has been donated from people around the world. I'm constantly amazed at the variety of donations and grateful for each one. Last week someone in America donated $100, someone in Calcutta donated $3, and someone in Germany donated online while he was on the train! A whole lot of you have been tweeting and blogging to show your support also. Thank you!

What about you? Will you chip in a few dollars to create an opportunity for someone in poverty? (Note the Chipin is displayed in US dollars)
All funds raised will go to Opportunity Australia midday June 30th AEST.

Donations made by Australian residents are also tax deductible and if you prefer to donate in Australian dollars, you can deposit directly via paypal. Thank you for your kindness and support. Every donation counts!