Building a Better Business and Marriage: Sumarti's Story

Sumarti, a mother of five in Indonesia, runs a small canteen selling local food, pancakes and ice pops, turning her favorite hobby into a micro-business. "What I like to do in my life is cooking. It is something I will do until I grow old," she said.

Since joining a loan group in Jakarta, she has used micro-business loans of $85 to slowly develop and expand her business. She has also participated in business skills training workshops.

One of the best parts of the Five Talents program for Sumarti was a seminar on how to be a wise woman. Her marriage had been in trouble, and her husband, who was out of work, was often short-tempered.

"At the time when my husband had been out of work and easily lost his temper, we were thinking of going for a divorce. I remember my children and they were the reason why I had to bear with the situation. I had to keep my patience and to hold on. The loan from Gerhati did help me during difficult times; it kept me going."

"I got help from that seminar. It reminded me to be in a position that would sustain my relationship and get along with my husband," Sumarti said.

Today, her marriage is stronger than ever before. And having learned some valuable lessons, she has been able to mentor other women and help them through their own marital troubles. "I have gone through ups and downs in this life," Sumarti said.

"I help others by sharing my life with them."

Learn more about Five Talents work in Indonesia to empower entrepreneurs.

Eiber in Bolivia: ‘The Greatest of My Jobs Is To Be a Husband and Father’

Eiber, a 30-year-old father of two, loves to play soccer.

He admits, though, at times in the past, he has loved it a little too much.

"All I did was work, and the little free time I had I dedicated to playing soccer with my friends," said Eiber, who designs and manufactures flip-flops with his wife, Marcia. (Read about Eiber's business).

That was before they joined a savings group with Five Talents' partner organization in Tarija, Bolivia, Semillas de Bendicion (Seeds of Blessings). While participating in the group savings program and learning core business skills, Eiber was also challenged to become a better father.

"My brothers' and sisters' families all live in the same house with us, and our children always play together. My nieces and nephews are very, very naughty and often have accidents and do poorly in school," he said.

"One day, Marcia made me reflect [that] I wasn't being a very good husband or father. In fact, no one in my family was – we all had married very young."

Participants in Five Talents' Bolivia program, like Eiber and Marcia, have access to additional workshops designed to strengthen communication and relationships within the home. He remembers how, early on, another family member pushed him to attend the sessions on family life.

"Each week, on the day of the meeting, a family member would always come, room by room, shouting, you are going to become psychologists! Prepare yourself! Let's go!" he recalled.

Slowly, the workshop attendance began paying off. Eiber and Marcia saw their marriage grow stronger and their home life become more stable.

"After each meeting, we left more in love," he said. "At the beginning, this seemed to be very corny and awkward, but, in the end, I learned to be more affectionate with [Marcia]. [And] we have organized ourselves better. Not only do we provide material food in my house, but we also give ourselves psychological food and – the most special – spiritual food.

"Now I know that the greatest of my investments, the greatest of my jobs, is to be a husband [to my wife] and a father to my children."

Click here to make a donation to our microenterprise development program in Bolivia.