Empowering Homeworkers through Credit Union28 February 2017
Memfi Dianti or Yanti, is a 34-year old wallet tailor who lives in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra. She learned how to sew in a 3 month training conducted by her neighbour which cost her IDR 300,000 (AUD 30)
Now, she has been working as a wallet tailor for 8 years. From this job, she earns IDR 50,000 (AUD 5) per day. She has to work 9 hours per day to meet the market’s demand. With this income, she is able to send her children to school. She feels really grateful working as a wallet tailor with decent wage. They no longer depend on her husband’s instable income as a construction worker.
“I am lucky. Even though I do not earn a large amount of money but my income can make ends meet,” she said.
It was not always a walk in a park in Yanti’s life as a homeworker. Couple of years back, she was timid due to her low educational level. After graduating from junior high school, she worked as a factory worker just like any other children in her village, Paya Bakung. Villagers’ low educational attainment in this region was caused by their lack of awareness on the importance of education. It also caused most of children in Paya Bakung dropped out of school and worked as factory workers. This condition halted economic growth in this village. Consequently, homeworkers’ income rate was also affected. It was hard to push up their wages.
However, she is lucky to have met one of MAMPU partners BITRA Indonesia Foundation. She empowered herself through their assistance. She recalled the day when BITRA came to her village two years ago and opened a discussion about homeworkers issues. Inspired by the meeting, Yanti and fellow homeworkers initiated a union which they call Sejahtera Home Workers Union (SPR). Assisted by BITRA, the members actively participated in various trainings to develop their skills. Now, Yanti serves as a trustee of Sejahtera Home Workers Union (SPR) in Deli Serdang.
“We hope, through SPR Sejahtera, homeworkers can put themselves on welfare,” she said.
Challenging economy made them borrow money from moneylenders. This condition harmed them because moneylenders set a very high loan interest rate – up to 20%.
Due to the alarming condition, SPR Sejahtera launched Credit Union (CU) on January 2016 to empower women in Paya Bakung in supporting their family. Now, this CU has 11 members. Saving mechanism requires the members to deposit IDR 30,000 (AUD 3) for the principal and IDR 10,000 (AUD 1),- for compulsory saving. Now, the CU current balance is IDR 1000,000 (AUD 100). The CU holds its key interest rate steady at 2%. Now, members can meet their daily needs and pay their children education with a low interest loan. They do not have to deal with moneylenders anymore. Other than that, the CU has influenced and inspired its members.
Joining SPR Sejahtera has broadened Yanti’s horizon and increased her confidence. She trumped her doubts and found courage to participate in village’s development. CU also brought positive change for its members.
“SPR Sejahtera’s Credit Union has brought us closer,” Yanti said.
Now, homeworkers in her region become active members of wider organisations. They always participate in SPR Sejahtera’s and Credit Union of Paya Bakung’s monthly meetings.
“We hope Credit Union of Paya Bakung will be more successful and SPR Sejahtera will continuously fight for homeworkers rights in our region,” she said.
* Completion of Most Significant Changes stories written by Dewi Bernice Tampubolon