Friday, February 11, 2011

Jump for Opportunity

For those of us that didn't get schooling in international development, or who are unable to go to poor nations on a missions trip, there is one important thing you can do. The big thing the rest of us can do to make a difference is raise money. And the easiest way to do that is by creating a fun event. We found one such example of fun fund-raising today. Michael Simmons and several others are going to jump out of planes to raise money for Opportunity International.

From the Times of Trenton, writer Eva Loayza introduces us to Jump for Opportunity.

The Plainsboro resident is one of several young entrepreneurs who will be skydiving in Orlando a week from Saturday to raise awareness and money for Opportunity International, a nonprofit organization that provides small business loans, savings, insurance and training to over 2 million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world.

The jump is part of Jump for Opportunity, a first-time event that challenges participants to face their fears for a good cause. The event is being sponsored by Young Ambassadors for Opportunity, an Opportunity International program for “passionate, globally-minded young professionals dedicated to providing economic opportunities for people living in chronic poverty.”

The money raised by the skydiving fundraiser will support Opportunity International’s financial programs and services in Tanzania.

Simmons is one of 26 people who have registered to take the leap — and quite a leap it is. The group will be jumping from 18,000 feet. While he skydived for fun once before, he admits, “I’m definitely, pretty scared. He remembers the fear as he sat on the edge of the plane waiting to jump, his legs dangling in the air. The worst “is when you jump out and your stomach drops,” he said.

“It’s easy to get desensitized from the reality that a large percentage of the world lives in.”
According to statistics on the Opportunity International website, 60 percent of the more than 40 million people living in Tanzania live on less than $2 a day.

Funds raised by this event will support efforts to build a full-service bank that would make microfinance loans available to people living in poverty. Microfinance is a means of extending credit, usually in the form of small loans with no collateral, to nontraditional borrowers such as the poor in rural or undeveloped areas.

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