May is "Global Action" month. Although there is much need here in the United States, the Foundation believes, as Martin Luther King, Jr. did, that a great nation is also a compassionate nation. Most Americans, though we know we have much poverty and other social ills that affect many in our society, can’t imagine the staggering poverty present in so much of the world. A few facts:
29,000 children die EACH DAY due to poverty. This is 21 kids each minute, and most of the deaths are from preventable causes.
805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat. 750 million lack adequate access to clean drinking water. 842,000 people die every year due to the diseases caused by lack of water.
The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty, according to the World Food Programme. Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
Another basic we take for granted: shelter. In the developing world, 640 million children do not have adequate shelter each day (this is 1 child in 3).
The Foundation will continue to join others in the fight against poverty in all its forms, wherever we find it. Global action, indeed.
Click here to read up on the update for our Ethiopian project.
Opportunity International Donations
City: Ramos, Tarlac City, Philippines
Melani Parazo is an entrepreneur from the Philippines. She is married and has two children. Melani’s business is selling different kinds of soap and beauty products in her town. Even with income from her husband’s work as a farmer, their combined income cannot meet the daily needs of their family. When her friend encouraged Melani to join Opportunity International, she knew she found the perfect partner. Melani became part of a Trust Group, where she received a loan and financial training. She used her loan to buy more items to sell to better meet the demands of her customers. Melani wants to save enough money to one day invest in other types of business and earn more income for her family.
Comfort Frimpomaa is a hardworking woman who lives with her husband and four children in Ankaase in the Eastern region of Ghana. Comfort’s husband, who is a trader, helps her take care of the children. While her eldest child is learning a trade as an apprentice, her other children are in school--two in Senior High School and the youngest is in Kindergarten. For the past 13 years, Comfort has sold "Waakye"--a local dish made from rice and beans, usually eaten with a spicy stew--by the roadside in her community. Comfort purchases her ingredients, such as rice, beans, oil, and other vegetables, in bulk from a nearby town. Over the years, her business has attracted many customers. She now plans to expand her business by acquiring a loan to purchase more ingredients in bulk. Comfort hopes this will allow her to increase her sales and better provide for her family.
City: Mangatarem, Pangasinan, Philippines
Rowena Fernandez is a hardworking single mother of four children living in Pangasinan, Philippines. Rowena manages a small convenience store to earn money to support and educate her children, but it has been difficult for her due to a lack of money and lack of assistance raising her children. When she heard about an Opportunity International, she knew it was what she had been looking for. Rowena was able to join a Trust Group, where she received valuable financial training and a loan to expand and continue to grow the store. She is saving her income to provide for her children's daily needs and ensure they finish their educations so they can find good jobs and have a better future.
City: Brgy, Kinabranan 2, Northern Samar
Cheryl Galino is a hardworking mother of two who lives with her husband, Ariel, and children in a village in the Philippines. For the past five years, Cheryl has run a business selling fruit and vegetables at the local market. Each morning, she wakes up early to set up; her days are long, and she works hard to ensure she’s selling only high-quality produce to satisfy her customers. It hasn’t been easy for Cheryl - she and her family have had to overcome many hardships. In fact, there was a time when she worried she wouldn’t be able to keep her children in school. Everything began to change when Cheryl joined Opportunity International. Cheryl received financial training and a loan to purchase more fruit and vegetables. With more produce to sell and with a greater selection, Cheryl was able to attract new customers and increase her sales. Thanks to the loan she received, Cheryl will be able to continue to grow her business and ensure her children receive the best education and future possible.
Kwadwo is a hardworking young man who operates a printing press and internet cafe at the Atebubu transport station. In his rented shop he offers services such as running photocopies for individuals who walk in and also running the internet cafe. For the past two years, he has successfully operated this business and has grown a solid customer base. Kwadwo also helps his parents take care of his younger siblings who are all in school. He hopes to acquire a loan to buy a printer which will help make his work more effective and efficient to serve his growing customers.
City: Bugembe Jinja
Justine Babwona lives with her five children in Bugembe, Uganda. Justine works hard to keep her kids in school, selling cooking utensils, pans, and cookware at the Bugembe trading center. She also sells snacks and foods at the school cafeteria, giving her a chance to see her kids and earn an additional income. Justine knew she could make gains in both areas of her work but would need to upgrade some of her supplies in order to do so. With little personal capital and extra income to spare in the family budget, she feared the investment she needed and the growth it could provide was just too out of reach. But when Justine learned about the programs offered through Opportunity International, she found the support she desperately needed. Justine received valuable training and a small loan to invest in her personal business. She received her first loan and invested it in her two businesses. Her work at the school is seasonal, but she’s finding ways to expand while she is there. She’s also increasing her footprint at the local market, allowing her to sell more products to a wider number of customers. Justine is able to keep her kids’ educations secure while focusing on making the growth she knows is possible.
Mary Jane Jocson
City: Baler, Aurora
Mary Jane Jocson lives with her husband, Gilberto, and their four children in the Philippines. For years, Mary has been engaged in rice production as the main source of income for their family. Gilberto also works on the farm to help manage their business operations. Despite their hard work, factors out of their control, such as weather and low market value, have hindered their business and led to financial instability. With low income but high expenses for their family and business, Mary Jane struggled to support both and knew they needed assistance. Mary Jane learned about Opportunity International and was able to join a Trust Group where she received valuable financial training and a loan which she used to improve her rice production. She hopes that she will have a good harvest and her business will prosper so she can better support her family's daily needs and send her children to school so they can have a better life.
Mary Mae Baltazar
City: Brgy. 2, Carmona, Cavite
“Rest if you must but never quit!” This is the motto of Mary Mae Baltazar, a dedicated business owner living in the Philippines with her husband, Francisco, and their two children. Before Mary Mae started her office supplies business, she and her husband operated a training center for one year. Although the training center business did not last, Mary Mae was able to start a new business with the help of Opportunity International. She was hesitant at first, afraid of another failing business, but with help and assurance, she has steadily grown her business. She is very thankful for her second chance and the ability to achieve her business dreams. Mary Mae plans to continue to grow her business and provide better service to her customers. She is hopeful she will attract new customers, increase her sales, and support her family.