Thursday, August 28, 2008

Reality Check

This summer I have been working on a book for Opportunity International that will share some of the stories of women they have supported through their micro-credit program.

As I grappled with the day-to-day realities that these women face, I became more and more aware of how much we take for granted in Canada. We have electricity, running water and a roof over our heads. While some of these women have achieved this, it is only through their tenacity, hard work and the support and training from Opportunity International.

We also do not have the double responsibility of the orphans in the community whose parents have died of AIDs. These women who are living in poverty, have given back to their communities by supporting many of the children who would not otherwise receive an education. Would that happen here – regretfully I don’t think so.

There is much to learn from how we work and support the disadvantaged. In another life, I used to run a program for teen mothers who wanted to finish high school and better their lives – for themselves and their children. We developed some strategies that were simple and effective, making the assignments relevant and practical.

Likewise, I can see that what Opportunity International has developed for their clients, would work with all of us. When a loan, as little as $84 is granted, there is a trust group formed – each person takes ownership for their loan, but the bottom line is that the group is responsible for ensuring that each member is successful and fulfils the commitment to repay the loan. Not a bad idea. We all could benefit from peer support and accountability.

When the book is published, I hope you will read it – you will be inspired and hopefully the trials and tribulations you face will be put in perspective!

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