It was a beautiful autumn day yesterday at the George Bush Presidential Library and the adjoining George W. Bush Institute as former first lady Laura Bush and former HP CEO and California Senate Candidate, Carly Fiorina spoke on behalf of a fundraising event for Opportunity International.
In a room with hundreds of Dallas’ area supporters of the institute and formidable supporters of women’s organizations, the “One Woman Changes Everything” luncheon introduced the mission of Opportunity International. At the start of the luncheon, guests were introduced in a short video of Ugandan farmer Betty Mulooki. Through a microloan from Opportunity International, Betty was able to expand a plot of her farming land to grow sugar cane and support her three children. Her husband unable to work due to injuries, means that Betty is the sole support to her family and is planning on sending her three children to college.
Speakers at the luncheon included not only Fiorina and Mrs. Laura Bush, there were also joined by Deborah Bowker, Senior VP of Marketing, Communications, and Donor Experience at Opportunity International.
Opportunity International provides microfinance loans, savings, insurance and training to over five million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. That’s across 22 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Founded in 1971, Opportunity International has created a sustainable economic model with every dollar growing into $6 over 5 years at a repayment rate of 98%. One of the impressive things about this model is that each client that obtains a loan also gets a network called a trust group that works as an accountability partner. Trust groups help make payments if the client misses a payment or to work with the client. The use of technology access and training can help these women support their families.
The One Woman Initiative
About 93% of Opportunity International’s loans are made to women. The One Woman Initiative seeks to empower an additional two million women living in poverty through financial resources, education and training to build sustainable futures. With a gift of $150 or $1500 within the One Woman network, donors become an integral part of helping this initiative.
One of the things that speaker Carly Fiorina emphasized was the ability for people to take a chance on others. Starting out as a receptionist for a start up, Fiorina herself would eventually become CEO of Hewlett Packard. “This is the only country in the world (US) where a girl who types and files can become the CEO of a large technology company. “ says Fiorina and “Every human being has potential and the opportunity to fulfill that potential.”
Former first lady, Laura Bush touted Opportunity International Albania as one of the first times she and former president Bush got to know this organization. She also went on to discuss how Opportunity International fulfills some of the aims for the George W. Bush Institute. The George W. Bush Institute focuses on programs and research resulting in action in the areas of education reform, global health, economic growth and human freedom. Through its Women’s Initiative, the Institute addresses the needs and opportunities of women as agents of change in society.
For more information on Opportunity International or to make a donation, please visit: http://www.opportunity.org/