World Entrepreneurs’ Day on 21 August is a day to celebrate the tremendous ingenuity and resilience of the millions of entrepreneurs in developing countries who are putting an end to poverty for their families and local communities.
Opportunity Chief Executive Officer Meredith Scott said, “The World Bank tells us that one in three people live on less than US$3.20 a day – that’s not enough to buy life’s basic necessities, educate children and pay for health services and medicine when a family member falls ill. These same families often lack toilets and access to clean water, which causes preventable illnesses that keep them trapped in poverty.”
Scott reiterated that it’s unacceptable that in the 21st century so many families in developing countries lack access to the basics the Western world takes for granted. Despite all these challenges, he stressed that the the entrepreneurial spirit is strong.
“This ensures that funds can be recycled after the loan is repaid, and the impact of our initial investment can create future opportunities,” Ms Scott said.
An aspect of equipping families to end poverty is to help them prevent the debilitating illnesses that stop them working in their businesses.
“We train women in India and Indonesia to be health leaders, empowering them to educate families in their local communities about ways of preventing illness and improving their health – by washing their hands, drinking clean water, building toilets, using sanitary napkins, growing vegetables, breastfeeding and giving birth in hospitals,” Ms Scott said. “These women work alongside our microfinance partners to ensure the layered and complex issues of poverty are addressed in a coordinated manner,”
Ms Scott noted that healthy families are more able to journey out of poverty because parents can work to earn a living and kids can go to school, every day, rather than constantly missing out because of chronic illness.
“We know through research that education is a powerful tool to help families end poverty.”
Ms Scott encouraged the public on World Entrepreneurs’ Day to honour the microentrepreneurs in developing countries who are “turning around their lives through hard work, ingenuity and passion.”