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In my journey to live more simply and meaningfully, I’m trying to learn about practical ways to make a difference in relation to people who have less than I do in the world.

What if you knew an entrepreneur who needed fifty dollars for a business to feed her family for a year?  You loaned her fifty dollars, and she paid it back with interest over time. That same fifty dollars and interest were then loaned to another business person, and then another.  And what if ten of us did this together, a hundred, or a thousand of us did it around the world?  Together.  What if you could follow and see how your entrepreneur was doing in her business?  Well, this is already happening and we can be a part of it.

I am considering being involved in OptINnow, which is a part of a non-profit called Opportunity International?  Have you heard about it?

How does it work?

They pool the generosity of people like us to provide entrepreneurs in the poorest parts of the world with small loans. The loans help these hardworking but impoverished individuals build retail, manufacturing, farming, or other businesses. If you’ve heard of microfinance, that’s what this is: small loans that can have a very big (and lasting) impact in the life of entrepreneurs, their family, and their community.

Do you know anyone who has participated in Opportunity International? I’d love to hear about this or other programs you know about that is making a difference.

You can read more about its history in Wikipedia here.  Several videos on YouTube can be viewed here.

Their Mission and Vision

Our vision is a world in which all people have the opportunity to provide for their families and build a fulfilling life.

Our belief is that small-scale entrepreneurs can be big change agents in overcoming global poverty.

Our mission is to empower people to work their way out of chronic poverty, transforming their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.

Our method is to provide microfinance services, including lending, savings, insurance and transformational training, to people in need. To do this, we build and work through sustainable, local microfinance institutions.

Our motivation is to respond to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor.

This is just one of the ways you and I can make a difference in being generous to the world.  Our faith calls us to respond to persons in need, regardless what faith tradition we have in our hearts.

What are you doing to be radically generous to those less fortunate? Share with us below.  I want to learn from you and your experience.

Peace along the journey.

2 Responses to “Opportunity Indeed — Day 11”

  1. Spencer Thomas says:

    Wow. How this is all hitting home with me. I know I don’t comment much. But, there is something that intrigues me about reading and learning from ur post. Thanks for sharing.

    It’s all about helping our fellow man. I would like to respond to your idea. This is a wonderful idea, but if we were to make this great effort to help the people in need and do it selfishlessly, why the interest? I believe when give to those in need, we should give to expect no recognition a nothing in return.

    Thanks

  2. Andrew says:

    Malcom,
    Thanks for writing this series on living more simply. This is something that we are all challenged with living in the developed world; fast paced lives, distractions from the truly important, easy fixes everywhere and little time devoted to the Sabbath. I was struck by this quote from your post on day two: “It is about understanding that happiness through owning stuff is limited, and our peace, joy, and inherent value comes from God.” This is such an inherent truth, yet one that I struggle to remember in the face of everyday life.

    Our vision for OptINnow.org was “how can we communicate and provide a place for the masses to experience and/or see the life changing work that micro-finance is having in the developing world?” We decided that the most impact-full way to engage the public is to simply tell our entrepreneurs stories. Tell the story of their life, business, family, and education. As our entrepreneurs stories come to life, we wanted to provide a way for users, if they feel compelled, to donate and help provide the entrepreneur with their loan.

    The minimal donation amount on OptINnow is $25 (the average loan for an entrepreneur is approx. $300)and all donors receive 2 updates throughout the entrepreneur’s repayment cycle. Each update is designed to communicate to the donor how the entrepreneur is doing, how their business is doing, where the loan when and how their family has been impacted by it. The second update communicates this as well as whether the loan has been repaid or been defaulted on.

    I encourage you to visit the site and read about the impact that micro-finance is having in the developing world. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions at all, I am happy to help answer them. Thanks for the support, and more importantly for your thoughtful examination of a simplistic life.

    Warm Regards,
    Andrew Koehler

    Akoehler@opportunity.org

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