We are partnering with opportunity international once again to work together towards one bold vision: ending extreme poverty in our lifetime. SAOR will donate 10% of net profits October 1 through December 31 to Opportunity International.
Your SAOR purchase will impact women like Elisa, Ruksana, Afroz, Dora, and Aurelia. Read their stories below.
Elisa’s small stall in the local market hosts a refrigerated case for soda and shelves lined with home and cooking supplies. But the true focus of the shop is on the low counter that extends around the perimeter of the store, filled with heaping baskets of rice, peanuts and grain. Elisa sells them by the bag, scooping up what her customers need and sending them on their way as she happily chats with her neighbors.
For Elisa, business was not always so easy. She started selling bulk grains from her home in 2003, when her two daughters – now 19 and 12 – were just babies. She worked tirelessly to support her family after her husband left, and eventually was offered a small plot in a commercial area. She jumped at the opportunity to reach a broader set of customers, and moved her operations into the weaving, winding paths of the market.
In 2010, Elisa learned about Opportunity and took out her first loan to purchase additional inventory in bulk. She liked that Opportunity offered small loans, as opposed to other banks that would require her to take out more than she needed or could reasonably pay back. With more stock than ever before, Elisa quickly began earning more. Soon, she was able to start saving and opened a savings account at Opportunity.
She had a goal in mind for her savings: a vehicle. She knew that a car would help both her business and her family, empowering her to more easily transport inventory for the shop from town to the market, and also allowing her kids to get around. After several years of saving, Elisa reached her goal and purchased a car.
Now, Elisa is saving to grow and improve the store. She is excited about the future and confident that she can achieve her goals. Most of all, she is proud that she can support her daughters in their educations. Her oldest daughter completed high school and is now studying HR management, and her younger daughter is in middle school. Elisa is so proud of them, and dreams that they will finish school and get good jobs of their own.
When you give today, you impact women like Ruksana, a seamstress in Delhi, India. For years, she supported her five children with the money she earned from her small sewing business that she ran from her home. She had talent and drive, but she didn’t have access to capital.
Thanks to generous donors like you, Ruksana received a loan from Opportunity. S.
Ruksana is one of the millions of people creating a bright new future for herself and her family thanks to supporters like you.
Afroz is a natural-born entrepreneur. After a lifetime of struggling to make ends meet, she and her whole family began dreaming about the work that they could do to improve their quality of life and create opportunities for other people in their community. Afroz started a stitching business while her husband found a job building furniture. And when their son decdied that he wanted to start a business as well, Afroz wanted to help him make it thrive. She knew that she wanted to invest in his fledgling appliance repair shop, but she didn’t have extra resources available.
Everything began to change when a neighbor introduced Afroz to Opportunity International. Afroz received a loan that she used as an investment in both her own sewing shop and her son’s repair shop. Soon, both businesses were growing and reaching new customers. With both businesses running well, the family now has sufficient income to cover all of their expenses, and they’ve recently begun hiring interns to train young people in the community to either sew or make repairs. Their lifestyle has improved, they have made necessary modifications to their home, and for the first time, they don’t need to borrow from their neighbors in order to pay their bills. Afroz’s dream is for her children to keep both businesses going, building a legacy and a future for her entire family.
Today, Dora Osorio serves as the President of her Opportunity Trust Group in El Barrio Recuerdo. She sells products from catalogs and in the afternoons, mans her own snack shop on the corner where she prepares arepas – a local Colombian treat. When local workers finish their days, Dora is there with her stove and a smile, offering hungry men a hot corn-cake. She lives in a two-story home that she shares with several of her daughters and grandchildren, and she wears a smile that takes over her whole face.
But things have not always been so easy for Dora. Shortly after the birth of their sixth child, her husband left her for another woman. The two had purchased a plot of land together, but after the separation, Dora’s husband threaten to claim the land as his own. Dora enlisted the help of a local leader to fight her husband – and won. Today, her home sits on the property that she purchased.
But winning the property was only the beginning.
Dora and her kids lived in the frame of a home – without electricity or a bathroom. Little by little, she began building her house, adding bedrooms for her kids, a kitchen, and eventually, a second floor. And she’s not done yet. One of the things she loves most about Opportunity is that it offers more than just business loans. She hopes to take advantage of a roof and floor loan in the future to improve some of the structural elements of her home.
When Dora thinks about her past, she remembers life as being hard. Now, Dora dreams about things being easier. Simple. Calm. She is proud to hold a leadership position in her trust group, support her kids and build both her business and her home. She has a newfound hope for the future and a confidence that together, she and her kids can continue to build a future for themselves.
Aurelia Jonas Katumbo – TANZANIA
Aurelia Jonas Katumbo loves her students, and her students love her. As the proprietor of Young Roses school in Arusha, Tanzania, Aurelia educates nearly 200 primary school students who are learning and thriving – both in and out of the classroom.
But things were not always so easy for Aurelia. She spent much of her career working in a local bank, but when the bank closed, Aurelia knew that all she really wanted to do was teach. She began a small school in her home with nine students and has worked tirelessly for years to get Young Roses to the place it is today. But for Aurelia, it’s all joy. She says, “If you love your students automatically, they will understand what you teach them.”
Even when she was a banker, she had a passion for teaching. She knew she was well-equipped with knowledge. In her words, “Why should I stay idle with the education I have? My parents paid for my school and I should use that.” Each year, she would build one new classroom as the school grew – slow and steady.
When she started working with Opportunity, she received loans to tackle larger construction projects like the second classroom block and the beautiful dining hall.
From her humble beginnings in 2007 with 9 students, the school has grown to a big school that employs 15 teachers and 12 support staff. They even have three school buses and a silo where they keep corn!
Despite her big complex, she cares so much more about the quality of education than the infrastructure. She says, “I don’t mind much about the buildings. I mind about the quality of education.”
When Aurelia thinks about the future, her primary goal is to find a new space. There is no more room to grow at the current location, so they need more space. They will also need money for new school construction. Wisely, Aurelia knows that it is risky to build a school on a loan because you have no idea how many people will show up. And Aurelia is so proud that she regularly pays her loans. She says, “I’ve never missed a month. I don’t want to disappoint myself, and I don’t want to disappoint people who have supported me.”
Someday, Aurelia would also like to open a secondary school, but she knows that this is a long-term goal.
She is also testing what boarding could look like for her school. She currently has six boarders, and she thinks this could be a good way to increase their income in the future. All of her students – borders or not – receive tea and lunch at school.
Because of her love of students, Aurelia is committed to figuring it out all of these new plans. But she knows it is going to require a lot of work!