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Volunteers Help Improve Lives through International Microfinance Projects

International volunteers support small loan initiatives in Costa Rica, Ghana, Senegal and Tanzania arranged by Projects Abroad, a leading international volunteer organization

NEW YORK – June 3, 2013 – Projects Abroad volunteers are making strides to promote small business growth and financial independence in communities in the developing world through small loan initiatives in Costa Rica, Ghana, Senegal and Tanzania. To date, 40 volunteers from 14 different countries have signed up to volunteer abroad on these projects since Projects Abroad established its first Microfinance project in Senegal in August of 2012.

Founded in 1992, Projects Abroad specializes in arranging service projects and medical and legal internships in the developing world. Volunteers of all ages and skill levels can travel to volunteer abroad on a wide variety of projects from a few weeks to a few months.

In Senegal, Microfinance volunteers help older street children, known as Talibés, start businesses and establish independent livelihoods for themselves. In Tanzania, volunteers work with local women’s groups to help them sustain and grow their personal businesses. The program is now funding over 50 women from 6 different groups.

The newest projects are in Ghana and Costa Rica, where the first volunteers are currently working to develop the programs. In Ghana, volunteers help support women who sell goods in local markets. In Costa Rica, volunteers mentor local entrepreneurs receiving funding through a government program.

Projects Abroad Microfinance volunteers serve the role of interns, assisting fulltime project coordinators with all aspects of the small loan initiatives, including helping produce business plans, providing practical accounting lessons, tracking cash flows, administering progress questionnaires, identifying target groups and producing monthly reports.

“The project involves providing loans and business training to women that own their own business,” says Justin Pressley, who recently volunteered in Tanzania. “It requires volunteers to travel to each group once a week to collect installments, monitor their processes and provide business training and tips. Projects Abroad makes a difference by providing the money for the loans and training the local women so they can make money to improve their lives and existing business.”

“I was able to fine tune many of the skills that I learned in college. I taught in front of a class full of people and wrote business plans for participants, which improved my public speaking and business writing skills. The record keeping methods that I taught during training were applied and I was told that it helped greatly.”

Find out how to volunteer abroad on a Projects Abroad Microfinance project at www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/international-development

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 28 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering overseas, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org

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