published in Livelihoods / Small Business / New SkillsWomen / Girls on March 22, 2018

Skills training in Indonesia

When Agusniat’s family’s income collapsed, so did she.
Now, thanks to your support through ALWS, Agusniat is the leader of a Women’s Group with 110 members. Like her, they are learning new skills and gaining confidence to support their families with their own businesses.

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“I must stand firm"

Agusniat’s success now had its beginnings in the hardest of times:

“The main income for my family comes from the rubber plantation, but this income is not enough for our daily needs.

Sometimes we cannot even eat rice – just banana and cassava because it grows around us.

This means my husband must go away to work.

Right now, he has been gone for 6 months. For the last two months, he has not sent us any money. Before my husband left, he had taken a loan, and used the money to gamble.

I did not know this. This is so very hard. I feel disappointment, mixed with great sadness.

It’s really hard to think about how to feed my children, and how I can find a way to pay back my husband’s debt.

This problem is so painful for me. It is affecting my health. I collapsed. I was crying and my children were crying.”

Help for Agnusiat came through ALWS local Indonesian partner, CDRM&CDS, working with the Women’s Group where Agnusiat was a member.

“Our CDRM&CDS facilitator trained us in how to run the group, and gives us guidance for business planning.

We can take a loan from the Group easily and fast, and I can trust this Group. It helps us with schooling, food and other payments. Sometimes the Village Government group asks about this Women’s Group because it is going so well!

I took a loan for 2million IDR [$200] to buy a pig and chickens to bring extra income to the family. I repaid the loan in 5 months …

… but now, I cannot get a loan from the Group because of my husband’s debt. So I must work as a labourer for another family. Every day I must work at this labour, but I cannot do very hard labour because I had three operations when I had my babies.”

No one could blame Agnusiat for giving up when she has faced so many challenges – but she persisted.

“For some time I was thinking to follow my husband, but I am leader of this group. We have 110 members, and they trust me as their leader. They don’t want me to leave.

I must stand firm. Many people around me still need me.

I feel proud because the Group can use me as leader even though I didn’t finish my schooling. I only graduated from primary school. When I was 14, I had to leave home and go to work as a labourer in a factory. My hard work helped me become the supervisor.

Being part of this Women’s Group has grown those skills.

I want to encourage the community to do small businesses like I have done with my pigs and chickens, so that the income of our community will increase. We cannot depend on the rubber anymore.”

When you ask Agusniat what drives her, she smiles and points to her children.

“I dream for my children to accomplish their study – maybe even to University, because this is the standard needed for good work.”