Stories of Change

Surianti talks to her daughter about running a business...some day!

Building a business and building resilience in Indonesia

Surianti Makamban is an entrepreneur in a rural mountain village in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. In the past, Surianti and her family relied on produce from small rice and cocoa fields to support themselves. But their harvests were never enough to meet their basic needs.

Ibu Sari, a community leader, noticed how Surianti’s family was struggling and invited her to join the CWS DREAM initiative. DREAM, or Disaster Risk Reduction through Enhanced Adaptive Measures, helps families strengthen their resilience against natural disasters and climate change. One way that families can become more resilient is by diversifying their income. To this end, DREAM supports women in creating savings and loan groups where women support each other in building small businesses.

In January 2019, only three months after she joined a DREAM group, Surianti took out her first loan. “I had been talking to my husband about starting a noodle stand, but he never encouraged me by saying that we didn’t have money for such a business investment,” Surianti said. But with the Riwang women’s savings and loan group, she was finally able to buy what she needed with a small, affordable loan to start her business.

With a 1,000,000 Ruphia ($70) loan, Surianti bought noodles, spices, bowls, utensils and other supplies to open her noodle stand in the local market. By the third month, she was making more than $40 each month: “I was easily able to repay my loan, and put savings into the group,” she said. In addition to being able to save a little bit more money, Surianti is so proud that she can now buy her children’s school textbooks.

Recently Surianti borrowed an additional 2,000,000 Ruphia to expand her menu to sell meatballs with her noodles, and to buy a larger stove and pots. She also plans to move her stand to the middle school during the week. “By moving to the school, I can sell noodles every day for sure, and not just occasionally at the market,” Surianti said.

CWS staff have enjoyed watching Surianti’s dreams become reality and they look forward to watching her family’s resilience grow more as her business does.