DUCA has partnered with Opportunity International Canada, on a project called "The DUCA Village". The aim of this project is to raise $150,000 by the end of 2012 from our "DUCA Village" - members and corporate sponsors - to help bring dignity and new opportunities to a village in Colombia rich in energy, ideas and innovation. This initiative is in addition to the $100,000 low-interest loan presented to Opportunity International Canada for their work in Colombia at DUCA's 2009 Annual General Meeting.
The people of Colombia are greatly in need of our help. "In recent years, 3.8 million Colombians have been displaced from their homes and 49% of the population lives in extreme poverty," notes Bob Lawless, Opportunity International Canada's President & CEO.
Former President & CEO Jack Vanderkooy and Senior VP Credit Arnold Denton traveled to Cartagena, Colombia to observe Opportunity's work on the ground in March of 2009. While in Cartagena, they met Colombians who, with a loan of $150, had been able to transition from subsistence poverty to a situation of sustainable income. "The disconnect between what we see as poverty on TV and what we actually experienced when entering people's homes is probably our biggest take-away from this trip," states Mr. Vanderkooy.
DUCA's partnership with Opportunity reflects its founding ethos. The credit union was started in 1954 by a group of Dutch immigrants to Canada who wanted to provide financial services to those who were getting nowhere with the existing banks. Like those early immigrants, Opportunity International Canada aims to provide financial services in the developing world to those who might otherwise have no access to them.
"At DUCA, we are grateful that our participation and financial assistance provides opportunity, hope, and dignity to the entrepreneurial poor in Colombia" concludes Mr.Vanderkooy.
Help us reach our goal by donating to "The DUCA Village Project" today.
Find out more about Opportunity International Canada by visiting www.opportunityinternational.ca.
Watch the videos below to see some of the work Opportunity International is doing in Colombia today.