As the first Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International, an organization dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs in low-income households and communities through the process of micro-lending by the means of “village banks”, Portman is an advocate for many social causes and uses her influence to draw attention to these issues and how a positive change can be made to those in dire circumstances. She has visited FINCA programs in Guatemala, Ecuador, Uganda and Mexico and met the women and men who benefit from the programs and village banks that FINCA provides. One story that she has mentioned in an interview is about a woman that she had met during her time in Uganda:
“I was in Uganda and I met this woman who had ten children and she had been in FINCA for eleven years. And she had ten children - when she started out her husband was beating her because she couldn’t have a boy. She had only girls. So he had kicked her out and she was living on 80 cents a day. With ten kids. And she was like begging her neighbors to give her like old laundry water just to clean their clothes. And she started on a $50 loan with FINCA eleven years ago, and she now has, I think it’s a $2,000 loan, eleven years later, and she owns a huge restaurant. She sends one of her daughters to university and she employs seven other women in her village. “
It is stories such as this that inspires Portman to speak out against injustices for women, those who live in poverty and for those who either lack the resources or do not know how to invest in their community. This hope of empowering a new generation that wants to make a positive change in the world drives Portman to invest her time and energy into an organization that provides financial services to those in low-income environments, and inspires these individuals to become entrepreneurs and improve their standard of living. Portman’s advocacy for social change and her positive attitude for this change throughout the world make her an incredible role model for women of all generations and her confident, humble voice for change has the power to reach women throughout the world.
Information source: Interview with Marianne Schnall, founder of Feminist.com. See full interview at http://www.feminist.com/resources/artspeech/interviews/natalieportman.html