There is a moment each spring when you can feel the weather turn. When all of a sudden the sun is shining and the air is barely-warm. And each year at this time I think the same thing: yes, we made it through another winter.
We made it through those months of short days and cold nights, when the snow was piled high and now we can look forward to brighter days when the trees turn from brown to green, and the flowers will appear.
Spring is a season of possibility.
In the same way, I reflect upon this season of Easter and celebrate the gift of new life granted to each of us. At Easter, we remember that death does not win, and we receive grace and freedom in its place.
Easter is a season of hope.
When I think about both spring and Easter, I think about the lives of Opportunity clients. For so many of the remarkable entrepreneurs with whom we work, life can often feel like one long, endless winter and because of so many circumstances resulting from extreme poverty, life for many of them feels hopeless.
Each day can feel like a fight against the elements, working to keep their businesses and families afloat. For so many of our clients, storm after storm of economic and educational exclusion, hunger, illness and corruption threaten to break whatever stability they have built in their lives, trapping them in a cycle of generational poverty that is difficult to escape.
But when clients begin to work with Opportunity, they are able to see a spark of possibility.
Through Trust Groups, relationship officers and financial training, clients learn to think ahead and plan for the future with a spirit of hopefulness and opportunity, perhaps for the first time. They receive access to loans, savings accounts and insurance, enabling them to build their businesses, cover their children’s school fees, improve their homes and feed their families. Best of all, they have access to the tools and services they need to not only set big goals, but achieve them. Through partnership with Opportunity, clients can dream about, plan for, and invest in bright, successful futures for themselves and their families.
Surely, the road ahead is not easy. In the same way that Canada receives an occasional snowfall in mid-April , our clients will continue to suffer the inevitable setbacks and challenges. But thanks to personal relationships with our local staff and customized resources and training, Opportunity clients are better equipped to weather these storms.
This spring, I find myself inspired once again, by our clients.
I remember stories of entrepreneurs like Guardina, a single mom in Honduras, who was trained as a hair stylist but had to give up her dream career in order to take care of her children. She willingly walked away from her own goal to do what she needed to do for her family, but then she received an opportunity. She partnered with Opportunity International, received a loan, and opened her own salon next door to her home.
Today, Guardina’s future is bright and full of possibility. Because of one small loan, she has a newfound hope and confidence; and now when she talks about her goals, the sky is the limit. Her big dream is to open a center for vulnerable children in her community – and she has already begun working toward this vision.
It is because of your partnership that Opportunity clients are able to feel that first sense of spring; that first moment when the future feels bright and hopeful as opposed to cold and difficult. Your partnership allows clients to not only think, “We are surviving the storms of life,” but “We are thriving in spite of them.” It sparks opportunity that will change lives, impact families and transform communities for good.
President & CEO