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Every family’s story is different. The benefits of participating in a savings group don’t just stop with the woman who is accessing capital, building up savings and learning business skills.
The transformation you unlock when you give to Five Talents looks a little different in each community. For Edo in Indonesia, the transformation involved an expansion of her micro-enterprise and an escape from unhealthy living conditions.
Edo has built a micro-business around selling clothing, small electronics and – most recently – homemade fish crackers.
Business skills training and a series of micro-loans from Five Talents and our partner organization in Jakarta, The Gerhati Foundation, helped Edo to grow her profits, which she and her husband used to construct a humble new home.
Today, they have a roof over their head, a solid brick wall around them, and a safe, dry space full of hope for the future.
"I did not have the courage to own a house before -- even the small one," she said. "With Gerhati and Five Talents, we have built a small house bit by bit from what we earn."
The program, she said, gave her the support and determination she needed to make her dream a reality.
The program has also brought Edo closer to her community: "I got help from neighbors and friends, as well, during the building progress. I believe this help came from God."
The challenges that Edo faces with her business are fairly typical. For example, she shares that "it takes quite an enormous amount of capital to be able to sell electronic goods." And finding raw materials for her homemade fish crackers can sometimes be difficult.
Edo also allows customers to take out a line of credit with her in order to make purchases. Sometimes, she says, customers are unable to pay off their debt.
Still, she has become a trusted resource in the community. "I have been around for quite a long time so I have known my neighbors for some time," she said.
Edo, who is on her fifth loan cycle, has drawn especially close to other group members. In fact, it was from one of them that she learned about the fish cracker business.
"When I joined the group, one of them asked if I could help her sell fish crackers. I started by selling them to some kiosks I happen to know about. It's something new to me, and it's going quite well at the moment."
Such is the life of a micro-entrepreneur like Edo.
She sell clothes that she hand-picks from bulk markets. She pedals electronic items that might appeal to people in her community. And she works with a friend to produce and distribute fish crackers.
Every little bit of business contributes to the construction of her home – and to other dreams that now suddenly seem achievable.
"There is a vacant lot next to my house," Edo said. "Hopefully I can set up a kiosk -- even a small one -- and sell more items, like rice and top-up credit vouchers for mobile phones."
Make a donation to Five Talents today and help more women like Edo build a better life for themselves and their family.