Having started two years ago with a small personal investment of $10,000, Ibu Sora, a local lady with a heart for the women in the region’s villages has started a movement providing a qualified mother a loan of $100 which is paid back in 6 months at $5 per week. The basic income of the villagers is $1 per day but since its inception, we have seen in the first year their average income increase to $5 per day with some reaching up to $10 per day.
In this fourth trip to the area, my wife and I visited two of the communities impacted by the program. In Tangung Pura, a typical village in the northern part of Sumatra, we met 20 women who have been implementing their business projects for the last 2 months.
This was a typical weekly gathering where they meet each other, review their experiences, and exchange tips and ideas. They also receive input from the team and discuss new concepts. This meeting also serves as the financial accountability checkpoint where they pay their loan back and pay into a savings account which provides them with a security they’ve never had before.
The ladies of PERTIWI (the cooperative) are different than most village women. Through their own hard work, they have earned a sense of dignity and security which now define them as active assets for their family and community.
Through our program, they learn to spend money only on what is necessary, thus avoiding the consumerist mindset prevalent in our culture today. They also learn that their word is their greatest asset. Finally, we also teach them the priority of paying off their debts so that they can be free from financial burdens.
As their income increases, these women are able to send their children to school, breaking the cycle of poverty that keeps these communities in bondage. They also are able to improve their living standards by acquiring clean water and homes with sufficient ventilation.
The number of loans has now reached 1,500 and we aim to add another 100 per month for rest of this year. While we are happy with this growth, the needs are far greater than this. Currently, we have 1000 ladies ready to join the program.
We are looking for partners that will join us and help bring practical and lasting change to these communities. Will you join us?
Take a closer look at the Pertiwi Microloan Project here.