Natalie Portman says that for many of the world's poorest women, a small loan can change their lives.

The actress said in an interview for ABC's "This Week" that aired Sunday that she has met mothers younger than she is who had to work in poor conditions for low pay because that was the only job available to them.

"And then they're able to get a loan and start their own business out of their own house and be with their children," Portman said. "It changes the whole system."

Portman, who starred in the last three "Star Wars" films, has been working with FINCA International, an organization that provides small loans to people in developing countries.

"If a woman can't tell her child, 'I can feed you tomorrow, I can pay for your school,' then where do they go? What do they do? What do they choose? It's really trying to reach the poorest of the poor and offering banking services to them," she said.