The Utopia Foundation is committed to creating sustainable change through domestic and international microloan and microenterprise programs. Microcredit provides small loans to individuals that may not qualify for funding through conventional banking systems. This financial resource allows an individual to begin, or build to the capacity of, a microenterprise, helping them achieve economic sustainability and independence. Micro-loan and micro-enterprise ventures are significant in scope and have lasting effects on the individuals and their communities at large.
At present, Utopia Foundation is supporting international microloans and microenterprise in a variety of different organizations. Each of these partner organizations share our goals of helping people lift themselves out of poverty through effective, self-sustaining, and empowering programs.
HERMANUS RAINBOW TRUST:
The Hermanus Rainbow Trust operates community and social development programs in the townships of South Africa. Many of the Trust’s programs focus specifically on the care and empowerment of women and children, and one of their core programs is dedicated to feeding 204 children twice daily.
To generate their own income to fund these programs, the Hermanus Rainbow Trust operates a bakery that uses rocket-ovens, low-cost ovens made out of drums that are designed and manufactured in South Africa. This venture has been hugely successful for the community, and continues to expand in scope and community participation. The Trust is also expanding into other agricultural ventures, including market-ready products.
LIVING POSITIVE KENYA:
Living Positive Kenya was established by champion Mary Wanderi to assist underprivileged women, orphans, and their families through HIV AIDS counselling, health education, economic empowerment, and community assimilation and integration. The program helps HIV-positive women escape rejection and poverty through teaching them how to create sustainable livelihoods. The Women’s Economic Empowerment Program (WEEP) teaches the women skills such as tailoring and mat-making and how they can use those skills to develop a business plan. The women gradually become more financially independent until their businesses are fully financially-independent and sustainable.
To help fund their programs, Living Positive Kenya operates an agricultural micro-enterprise that harvests fish, vegetables, and poultry. Utopia Foundation supports this enterprise through helping to fund an aquaponics system, a symbiotic system that produces both tilapia and vegetables.
Kibera Talking is a low-cost radio station operating in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Employees at this station receive business and radio training from the Koch FM organization, learning skills such as DJ-ing, putting on a radio show, running a radio station, marketing, and programming. These skills will help the employees become knowledgeable not only in radio management but effective business practices as a whole. Koch FM will also teach them other business-related activities to help the station generate income and achieve self-sufficiency.