Stories of Change

Ety and two of her children in front of their kitchen.

More earning potential means more possibilities in Indonesia

Ety Pitáy is a single mom to four children who range in age from 6 to 15. She and her children live in a rural, mountainous community in West Timor, Indonesia. Before she started participating in the CWS Berdaya initiative, Mama Ety relied on processing dried corn kernels to provide for her family. She would grind about 40 pounds of corn each month to remove the hard outer shell. 

For all her hard work, Ety earned less than $9 each month. This hardly kept her children fed, and it wasn’t enough to afford to send them to school. Ety had no savings. 

The family’s future changed drastically when Mama Ety joined Berdaya, which is Indonesian for “empowerment.” The program focuses on supporting women, including to organize and lead their own savings and loans groups so that group members can start or expand businesses. Mama Ety is the secretary of one of these groups. Through Berdaya, Mama Ety also learned new skills that she can use to expand her business. “Before, I only knew how to process corn, but now, along with my corn processing, I can make sweet potato chips and marungga [a local tree with nutritionally valuable fruit and leaves] sticks to sell to snack vendors,” she says.

By adding these products to her business, Mama Ety has been able to double, and sometimes triple her income!

Thanks to the savings group, Mama Ety says, “I can improve my household business by taking out affordable loans to reinvest in myself. But not only that, I can save for my children’s education. I never thought education for my children was possible.”