The African continent has 24 of the world’s 25 poorest countries. It is home to 75% of the world’s poor. The continent’s recent history is riddled with stories of mass rapes, civil wars and genocides. And yet miracles of women’s courage are happening there.
I am in San Francisco, having just attended the annual conference of Opportunity International. This 40 year old, non-profit organization has pioneered new concepts in microloans (business loans averaging $145). And from Uganda to Malawi, Tanzania to Mozambique, Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 80% of Opportunity’s loan clients are women. They start or build businesses with their loans. They use their earnings to feed and educate their children. They are changing their communities and they are breaking the chain of generations of poverty.
Most amazingly, these women are using decidedly feminine characteristics of courage – collaboration, inclusion, altruism – in the face of overwhelming odds. More stories to come, more info about Opportunity International at http://www.opportunity.org