HRH The Princess Royal, opens Opportunity Bank in Uganda
City A.M. has been a long standing partner of Opportunity International – a brilliant charity that helps people all over the world to build and sustain independent, prosperous lives by providing them with access to financial services and training.
In October this year, Opportunity International UK’s Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, visited one of their programmes in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda. Whilst there she officially opened the Nakivale branch of Opportunity Bank Uganda – the first Opportunity Bank in a refugee settlement anywhere in the country. The new branch enables Opportunity International to scale up its financial inclusion services, providing life-changing financial services to refugees living within the settlement.
The first of its kind in the refugee settlement, the branch was built in partnership with the Wakati Foundation, a refugee-led organisation based in Nakivale, who employed 32 refugees (12 of whom were women) to support its construction. 42% of current branch staff are also refugees – it really is a bank built by and for the people it serves.
Opportunity International and its partners have been working in Nakivale settlement since 2019 to help promote self-reliance among refugees, build their resilience and stimulate local economic activity in the settlement and the surrounding host communities. To date, the programme has enabled over 3,800 refugees to open bank accounts. More than 848 loans have been disbursed and over 6,900 refugees have received financial literacy training.
The Princess Royal also met with members of the Wenzetu Women’s Group, a group of women supporting families with people living with disabilities. These women are being supported to develop a sustainable income for their families through small businesses that they can run alongside their caring responsibilities. She then met the Unleashed Youth Entrepreneur Group, a refugee-led organisation that is enabling young people to develop entrepreneurial skills and launch their own business. Opportunity International are working with Unleashed to provide a combination of training and support, plus access to financial services via Opportunity Bank, to 10,000 young people creating 450 businesses and over 1,100 jobs in the community.
HRH The Princess Royal, who has been Patron to Opportunity International UK for over 20 years, said: “Last month I had the privilege of visiting Opportunity International’s work in Uganda and meeting some of our clients. I heard first-hand the powerful impact Opportunity International programmes are having on people’s businesses, their families and their wider communities. Access to financial services changes lives. I’ve seen it for myself.
Whilst visiting the Nakivale Refugee Settlement I met Sephora, a remarkable young woman who, thanks to the support from Opportunity International, is now part of a thriving youth enterprise producing products and raising awareness around women’s health. Sephora is one of the many clients who told me how access to financial training, loans and savings have transformed her life.”
Meet Sephora…. A resilient refugee entrepreneur
Sephora is 18 years old and lives in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement with her parents.
She is a member of the Unleashed youth entrepreneur group who have received support from Opportunity International to develop and build sustainable livelihoods. Financial trainings, loans and savings are helping members work towards a more secure future.
Along with other members of the group, Sephora has developed several treatment and awareness-raising products around women’s health issues. Sephora says: “I have personally learned many new skills, including design, manufacture, mixing of cosmetic and medical ingredients and marketing. I have many hopes for the future. I would like to establish a foundation for our products and offer efficient delivery services in the future too.”
Unlock Potential this Christmas…
Times are tough for many of us but The City is tremendously generous, and people like Sephora need our support now more than ever. Any donation you give will make a huge difference. Thank you.
Will you give the gift of opportunity to someone like Sephora this Christmas?
or call 01865 725304
Find out more about Opportunity International:
If you’d like to read more about the important work being done by Opportunity International, why not check out their website and their social media via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook . #handupnothandout