How readers make a big difference

The City A.M. Christmas Appeal, which raised £1.5m in total, has enabled Opportunity International to expand its grassroots banking services to the south of Malawi. The southern region is one of the poorest areas in the country. I’m delighted to share with you how the City A.M. appeal is already making a big difference.

What are we using your money for?

We’re lending to small businesses and creating jobs

With your support we’ve been able to provide small loans to 2,464 micro businesses between January and May. In turn this has created or sustained 3,700 jobs. The average loan size is just £94 and typically lent to traders selling local products in a marketplace.

We’re reaching more people

Our team is now able to directly reach more poor people. We’ve built two new bank branches in the south of Malawi so we are nearer and more convenient to the poor people we aim to serve.

We’re training people to run good businesses

We are training and mentoring thousands of entrepreneurs in simple business management skills. Better run businesses mean more jobs and more money in the pocket to feed and educate children.

There is much more to do.

By the end of 2014 we aim for 26,000 households to hold savings accounts and 15,000 micro-entrepreneurs and farmers will have accessed small loans creating and sustaining 22,500 new jobs.

Our work is more than numbers though.

By giving people a hand-up, not a hand-out, you have enabled poor people to take control of their own life, to lift themselves out of poverty.

A poor person holds their head a little higher when they buy their child a school uniform for the first time or put more food on the table.

Thank you to the readers of City A.M. and the UK government’s Aid Match for your support.