Stories of Change

Mispa with her new piglet.

Replacing worry with confidence in rural Indonesia

Mispa’s life used to be defined by worry. As a single mom to her now 17-year-old son, it was up to her to support her family. She worried about paying for her son’s education. She worried about putting food on the table. She worried that she wasn’t making enough money as a weaver. Then she worried when she ran out of money, couldn’t afford thread and went into debt. 

Even after she first met CWS, Mispa still had a lot of reasons to worry. She joined a CWS program called Berdaya (which means “empowerment”) in her community in rural Indonesia. Alongside other women, Mispa received supplies and lessons to improve their weaving and naturally dye thread, which makes their weaving more desirable. She learned about the basics of financial management and business planning. She got out of debt, but she was still only making about $1.50 per day. The worry was never far away. 

Things got tougher when the COVID-19 pandemic affected markets in 2020. There was less demand for products like hers, putting her weaving income in jeopardy. Income shrank, and worry grew.

In the face of the pandemic, CWS scaled up the support we offer to Mispa and her neighbors. Before 2020, Mispa was one of millions of “unbanked” Indonesians who don’t have bank accounts. CWS and a local government-owned bank helped nearly 1,000 people, including Mispa, to open their first bank accounts. We deposited cash that Mispa withdrew to use for her latest CWS-supported business venture: raising chickens and pigs. (In the future, she will use the bank account for her textile and livestock businesses.)

As always, our work in this part of West Timor, Indonesia, is focused on nutrition. This latest chapter has been made possible with support from Latter-day Saint Charities. Mispa used the cash from her bank account to purchase two hens, a rooster and a three-month-old pig from a local shop that CWS had vetted for quality. It helped support a local business, and started a new business at the same time! She also had enough to build a chicken coop and pig sty. Our team worked with her and her neighbors to learn about how to care for their livestock to keep their businesses flourishing. Mispa had been worried that her chickens may die from local diseases. She was relieved to learn that the CWS team had ensured that all the animals were healthy and fully vaccinated. Having healthy animals from the start, and her new knowledge and skills about raising them, have helped her overcome her worry with confidence. “I’ll take care of these chickens and the piglet with all my heart,” Mispa says, “because I know that these chickens and pigs can provide for my son and me and support his education as well.”

While Mispa was in the process of getting her chicken business set up, CWS provided eggs for her family. They usually eat boiled corn and vegetables, so eggs are a nutritious supplement that they could start eating immediately. Mispa will continue to have eggs to eat from her new chickens, and she plans to sell the pig in a year and a half to buy more piglets. 

“I would like to thank CWS for all the help and everything I have learned,” Mispa says. “I joined a weaving group at first and now I have eggs, chickens and a piglet. May God give CWS lots of His blessings.”