FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2009
Five Talents International
P.O. Box 331
Vienna, VA 22183
Small Loans Provide Big Impact in Indonesia
The loan was for just $40. But it felt like a million dollars.
You see, Atni had become the sole provider for her family of seven when her husband fell sick with typhoid fever and was not able to work.
So, Atni hired herself out as a laundry woman. Each week she earned $3 per family she worked for and would earn an extra 50 cents by picking up her neighbors’ garbage in their Jakarta, Indonesia, neighborhood.
But, this small amount of work did not provide enough income to feed her family. There was no money to buy rice. Her five children would sometimes go days between meals.
“I once had to lie to my young children,” she recalls through tears. “I could not stand to see them crying for food, because they were hungry, and I had nothing to cook. I would say to them, ‘Sweethearts, I’m cooking some rice, please wait.’ But, in fact, what I cooked was water.”
In spite of these difficult circumstances, she surrendered herself to God.
She soon began selling drinks from her home by using some of the money she earned from her laundry work. Her business remained very small until she was introduced to GERHATI, a Five Talents partner.
She joined one of the loan groups and received her first loan of $40, which she used to expand her business.
In Indonesia, 52.4% of the population lives on less than $2 a day. That’s nearly 123 million people! And, 24% of children under the age of 5 are malnourished.
GERHATI works in the Bekasi and Cipayung communities of Jakarta to help community members, like Atni, become financially self-sufficient so that they are able to provide for their families.
But we provide more than access to small loans. GERHATI reaches out to Muslims in the community. They help build relationships among people of different faiths in a frequently tense and hostile environment by sharing the love of Christ in tangible ways.
As a member of a loan group, Atni was given a way to care for her own family.
Her business is now in a small stand behind her house. She earns a steady income from the sales of drinks, coffee, fried bananas, vegetable soup and coconut rice.
With this income, her family now enjoys three meals a day. They even have money for meat, eggs and milk! Atni is now also able to take her children to the doctor when they are sick as well as buy their school uniforms and books.
“Thank you for your patience and love in supporting me and encouraging me to keep my spirits up and for motivating me to move forward,” Atni said.
Established in 1999, Five Talents provides funding for business training and thousands of loans, ranging from $50 to $300, across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Each loan finances a microbusiness that, in turn, supports up to nine other people. A majority of the loan recipients are women. Five Talents is based in Vienna, Va., with an office in London, England. For more information, visit www.FiveTalents.org.