In response to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor, OI’s mission is to empower people to work their way out of chronic poverty, transforming their lives, their children’s futures and their communities. OI provides microfinance loans, savings, insurance and transformational training to over two million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. We work on raising awareness of microfinance, helping with funding and offering members of WCC the opportunity to travel on OI insight trips. www.opportunity.org
Coordinator: Lou Vlahos
Your involvement: 1 week trip or local support
Opportunity International (“OI”) Nicaragua – A New International Mission for WCC
It’s not often that we have the opportunity to start a new WCC international mission, especially one only a four-hour flight away. We have worked with Opportunity International in Kenya, and given them our Easter Offering a few years ago to support their microfinance loans to new entrepreneurs.
Free public education in Nicaragua stops at sixth grade, leaving most students unable to continue their education. This OI school prepares youth for employment through an entrepreneurial curriculum taught in the classroom and through the school’s owned and operated businesses. This creates a two-fold benefit: practical, hands-on student training, plus the generation of revenue that helps sustain the school.
In addition, OI, the school, and private investors have collaborated on a hotel. “Pacaya Lodge & Spa” creates community jobs, provides hands-on hospitality training for students, and protects the local environment. The income from the hotel contributes to the school, which also helps the school’s sustainability.
With our help and the help of other churches and donors, we are mobilizing Nicaraguans to address self-identified community development needs through access to capital and comprehensive resources.
Our specific intentions are to help in three ways:
- Hands-On – by using our current WCC programs to assist the school with their requests such as music, language, leadership, youth and camp
- Insight – gaining additional knowledge, support, leadership and access to resources through our members, as well as sponsoring insight trips to the school and surrounding area to familiarize ourselves with the full perspective of need for the mission.
- Support – through our fund-raising events like Mission Festival, donor parties, and gifts-in-kind from WCC members and the community
Our goal for this year is to begin to dialogue with OI to determine their immediate needs. We anticipate that in 2017 we will have an initial working document that will allow us to then begin the planning and preparation for this important mission.
We are proud to support this sustainable and socially responsible community economic development model. We will stand side by side with community members to improve livelihoods and build capacity, resulting in self-reliant, vibrant communities.
If you want to learn more about this great opportunity contact Lou Vlahos.