Stories of Change

Erni and her children in her kiosk.

A role model among us in Indonesia

There are a lot of amazing people in the CWS global family. Mama Erni Liunokas is one of them.

Erni is a small business owner in rural Indonesia. She’s also a wife, a mom of two young children and a role model for her peers and neighbors. Erni opened her sales kiosk in 2015. She wanted to earn extra income for her family, so she started selling produce from her garden along with staples like rice, kerosene and mobile phone credit. Her goods were popular, and she began earning $3.50-$5 each day.

This was amazing progress for her family, and then things got even better in 2018. Last year, Erni joined the CWS Berdaya program in her community. She teamed up with a her neighbors to form a savings and loans group–one of 26 groups that CWS supports in Indonesia. This gave Erni the chance to take out low-interest loans that she could use to build her business even more. (Fact: 83 percent of the loans that these groups make are in support of women-led businesses like Erni’s.)

Erni also got some new ideas through the Berdaya program that she put into practice. “I have learned so much to help my business as well as my life,” she says. “For my business, I have learned how to process local foods in new ways. This has helped me find economic value in vegetables and greens that I thought had no food value at all.” Armed with this new information, loans and her willingness to innovate, Erni has diversified what she sells in her kiosk. “My business has bloomed this past year because I could borrow money from our group to invest in and grow my business,” she says.

Today, Erni makes an average of $7/day at her kiosk – double what she was making some days in the past. She can use some of her profits to continue to expand the business; for example, she recently bought a cake pan and can now sell cakes alongside her other goods.

Erni’s neighbors are taking notice of her success. She has inspired other women to start their own businesses. Many of her group mates have said that she’s a role model among them. And, as our team knows, she’s one of many inspirational women who are working hard every day to make sure their families can live in a world where there is enough for all.