Stories of Change

Photo: Ryan Shanley

Our team in West Timor expanded the Timor Zero Hunger program this year in partnership with families, community leaders and government colleagues.

Source: CWS Annual Report 2017

Small changes change lives in West Timor!

Selfiana Seu is a farmer and a Village Health Post volunteer from Nekmese hamlet in West Timor, Indonesia. She lives with her husband, Philipus Boimau, and their three children. Selfiana sells her vegetable harvest weekly in a nearby market, and she also has a small business selling about 20 liters of bottled gasoline each day from her home. “I can earn between $20 and $40 each month from both activities together, but that’s just enough cover our daily expenses,” she explains.

As an active community member in Nekmese, Selfiana is also a Village Health Post volunteer. This has given her the opportunity to join CWS-supported Timor Zero Hunger activities for some time. In September, when a new opportunity was introduced in Nekmese, she and other mothers formed a savings and loan group through a new Berdaya (empowerment) initiative made possible by an investment from CWS global partner, Week of Compassion. “We have 28 members and we agreed that each of us would commit $4 as an initial savings amount, and that we would start lending
to members right away,” Selfiana explained one day.

Seeing an opportunity to expand her home-based selling from just gasoline, Selfiana was among the first to borrow from the group; and with just $15 she added inventory: snacks, coffee and cooking oil to start. “I made $4 in profit and paid back my loan at the agreed two percent interest, within a month!” A second $15 loan in November allowed Selfiana to add pumpkin, onion, Chinese cabbage and eggplant seeds to her growing inventory, and then Selfiana and other savings group members decided to start a communal garden where they will plant more vegetables, both to sell and eat with their families.

“Although our group has only been together for a few months, I and others have been able to expand business and save too. I hope we will continue to grow and eventually get support from the local government for additional capital, or at least tools for our communal garden,” Selfiana opined.