Ellery Brookman contributes to Opportunity International Australia through an ongoing partnership with this amazing charity with a difference.

Opportunity International Australia exists to provide people living in poverty with the opportunity to transform their lives. Offering a hand up rather than a hand-out, they use a sustainable approach to solve poverty – empowering families through community development programs and loans as small as $100 to help them grow their own small business. These services mean that families no longer have to struggle to afford food, water, healthcare and an education for their children.

I am so pleased to have the chance to assist others to grow and develop their own small business as I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do.

Specially, our funds go to Cashpor, one of the largest microfinance institutions in northern India, currently serving over 460,000 women through 264 branches.  It was established in 1997 to provide a fair credit source to the poor and an alternative to Mahajan (landlord moneylenders) who charge exorbitant interest rates, trapping people in a cycle of debt.  Over time, Cashpor gained the trust and confidence of poor communities.

Having visited rural India myself through my association with Rotary International's ongoing (but hopefully soon to be finished for good) polio vaccination program, I am aware that its people are proud and spirited, and it is no surprise to me that they have embraced the availability of microfinance and the chance to change their lives through their own endeavour.

Cashpor's vision is for all women living in poverty in the rural areas of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to have access to microfinance and for them to be using this opportunity to lift their families out of poverty.

There is a lot of great information available about Opportunity International Australia and Cashpor in particular on Opportunity's website (see link at the bottom of this page).  I encourage you to visit this site and see for yourself how an operationally sustainable lending program can really enable families to break free from poverty for good.