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How microfinance works

Microfinance is the provision of financial services such as loans, savings, insurance and training to people living in poverty. It is one of the great success stories in the developing world in the last 30 years and is widely recognised as a just and sustainable solution in alleviating global poverty.

It’s estimated that approximately 2.5 billion people around the world live in poverty, struggling to survive on less than US$2 a day. That’s less money than we would spend on a cup of coffee without a second thought. Yet for people like Nasreen and Samina (video below) and Ana (video below), it’s all they have to provide for the needs of their whole family.

Families living in this kind of poverty struggle to afford even the most basic of items. They are unable to afford adequate meals, clean water or an education. They go without proper shelter, transport and even medicine when they’re sick.

Nine months pregnant, Ana was scavenging for food and scraps on a garbage dump. Now, thanks to a small loan from Opportunity International Australia’s microfinance partner TSPI, Ana has a small business of her own and is giving back to street children in her community.

Microfinance is a business approach to solve poverty. Rather than a hand-out, individuals not otherwise able to borrow from a traditional lending institute are provided a loan as small as $100 (known as microcredit or a micro loan) to help grow their small business. A loan enables them to start or grow their business to earn an income to afford food, water, shelter and education for their children. It is a sustainable dignified way to contribute to lifting living standards around the world, leaving people educated, confident and with the resources to help themselves.

After extensive research into the governance behind multiple microloan providers, we’ve partnered with Opportunity International Australia and Good Return to distribute microloans predominately across India, Indonesia and The Philippines.

Nasreen and her sister Samina are two business women living in Hyderabad, India, whose lives have been changed through microfinance. This is their story.

The Ripple Effect

Each time a woman completes our 6 Step Money Makeover, $10 of her program fees go toward providing a microloan for a women to start or grow her small business.

Learning Resources

Read Wikipedia’s take on microfinance – www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microfinance

Check out easy to understand world statistics around wealth distribution – www.gapminder.org

Look over the United Nations Millennium Development Goals – www.un.org/millenniumgoals

Watch a video on the effect one girl can have – www.girleffect.org

Watch videos and read stories of women who have received loans – www.opportunity.org.au/Resources.aspx

Donate directly to women who need your help – www.goodreturn.org/lend/

Fundraising Ideas

You may decide to contribute further. Here are a couple of links to 100’s of fundraising ideas and tips to get started:
www.australianfundraising.com.au
www.fundraisingideas.com.au

Quote

"When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man."

Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World

A social enterprise supporting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals

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