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How Microfinancing = Macro-Change for the Poor


WASHINGTON -- Believers know they’re supposed to help the poor but often feel challenged about how to do that with a lasting impact.

At a recent event in Washington, Opportunity International suggested that one of the best ways is to offer microfinancing, especially to women mired in poverty.

The organization has been a conduit for almost $9 billion in loans to more than 12 million people across 22 countries.

Opportunity International Global CEO Vicki Escarra told CBN News they want to do so much more in the future.

"We have a goal of creating 20 million jobs by 2020, which will affect 100 million people," she said.

At a lunchtime talk at Washington’s Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, Escarra and Carly Fiorina, the group’s global board chair, laid out why Christians would be wise to use their resources to aid entrepreneurial women in the Third World.

Escarra pointed out they frequently do more with the loans than men might.

"Out of every dollar they earn, they reinvest 90 percent of their income back into their families," Fiorina said. "So they are really focused not only on improving their lives, but the lives of their children, the health of their communities, and the health of their countries."

Escarra and Fiorina made the point that microfinancing can become the best kind of aid to the poor because if you help people develop jobs and businesses, not only does that pull them out of poverty, but it gives them the means to turn around and help others out as well.

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