OPT's mission is to combat poverty by providing grants and capacity-building services to grassroots organizations that enable women to attain economic self-sufficiency.
We envision a world in which the economic empowerment of women has broken the cycle of poverty for all.
In the summer of 2009, Jan Houbolt and his wife Rachel Wohl, traveled to Indonesia. They watched the PPMK projects in action; projects that Jack Wilson and a small group of dedicated Indonesian women had initiated in the face of enormous adversity. Indonesia's people live at or below the global poverty index of not quite two dollars a day. In one of the poorest countries in the world Rachel and Jan saw important improvements in the lives of the village people.
One focus of PPMK is improving nutrition for children in the local village. There, Jan and Rachel met those children in their school; recipients of the "one cup of milk and a banana a day" program. Bringing milk and fruit to the children is a small step toward the alleviation of hunger and poverty.
Rachel and Jan also met a woman who was able to buy twenty ducks and sell the eggs to restaurants and grocers with a small micro loan from PPMK. The micro loan program has empowered over 100 other such women to start their own small businesses. They are proud that all of the loans have been paid back on time. The successes of the women, empowered by PPMK, offer hope that there is a way to lead self-supporting and independent lives. They are role models in their community, encouraging others to better the lives of themselves and their families.
On December 13, 2011, Jack Wilson passed away following a battle with lung disease. Concerned that with his death all programs of PPMK would cease, Jack sat down with his dearest friends for a serious talk. He had alone founded, and personally funded the micro loans and social programs, and wanted them to outlive him: "I'm asking you to find a way to continue the work here; grow it and help more people than it does now. Will you do this so it doesn't just end when I go?" It was an emotional conversation and the last time they would see this unique individual, Jan Houbolt's lifetime friend. If you know Jan and Rachel you know their passion for repairing the world. They have been deeply inspired by Jack in his quest and certainty that the elimination of poverty is possible, beginning in Yogakarta.
By the time they arrived home Jan and Rachel were ready to get started. They invited a diverse group of people from the Baltimore metro area to form a Board of Directors. Each person approached had unique skills to offer and the tightly held belief that poverty is a complex yet solvable injustice. The compelling story of Jack Wilson's road to his work in Yogakarta combined with Jan's ever infectious enthusiasm and Rachel's unwavering optimism led each invitee to pronounce, "Yes!"