Ibu Samsariah, Indonesia
Microfinance helps Ibu Samsariah dream of a better life—even after the tsunami threatened to take it away.
Ibu Samsariah fished the canal near her home in the village of Ruko and the ocean for oysters. Her husband worked as a labi-labi driver (a small mini-van that operates like a bus) and her two sons found work when they could as day laborers. Between the four of them, they made a modest living and lived comfortably with their combined income meeting their basic needs. However, the tsunami in 2004 hit Samsariah’s village with a vengeance.
As it approached, she and her family heard their neighbors’ screams. Before they could reach higher ground, the waves overtook them. She and her sons swam for their lives and ended up in Darussalam, a neighborhood five kilometers away. Her husband was swept out to sea, never to be seen again. After the tsunami, Samsariah and her sons were left with no husband and father, no possessions, no tools for fishing, and no income. Despite her family’s already devastating situation, Samsariah met two young boys who were orphaned by the tragedy. She decided to take them in and raise them as her own, sharing with them whatever she had left. For months, she and her sons relied on aid and donations.
But at the beginning of 2006, Samsariah took control and began to turn her luck around. She formed a group and received a $100 loan from Yayasan Mirtra Dhuafa (YAMIDA) to buy the necessary equipment to re-start her business. She contacted the man at the nearby market with whom she used to do business to see if he would buy her oysters. He agreed and she immediately set to work. Within a day of receiving the loan she once again had an income.
With the money she makes from her oysters, combined with the odd jobs her sons find, they manage to make ends meet. Samsariah plans to open a stall of her own in the local market, which would allow her to benefit from a markup of her sales price. The profits from owning her own stall would enable her hire someone else to fish for and shell the oysters. As her income continues to improve, she hopes to send her adopted sons to school. She dreams of them finishing high school, a dream that no one in her immediate family has yet realized.
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