Apoy and Sariyani, Indonesia
About a year ago, Apoy made a mistake that is reaping benefits for him today. He misdialed a cell phone number and found himself talking to Sariyani. Even though the phone number was wrong, the conversation apparently felt right, because the couple decided to meet, began dating and eventually got married!
Today, Apoy and Sariyani are still connecting using the mobile phone, running a new business selling airtime and other services. They are clients of Ruma, a social enterprise that works with Grameen Foundation to develop mobile phone-based microfinanchise opportunities for Indonesia’s poor.
The couple lives with his father and five siblings. Apoy lost his mother to bronchitis more than nine years ago, and he and his father also suffer from it today. Luckily, a free government program covers their medical costs and they receive treatment for the disease.
Before becoming Ruma clients, things were extremely difficult. Sariyani was a full-time housewife, while Apoy had odd jobs, including selling traditional shrimp chips (kerupuk) and picking up occasional carpentry jobs, which paid him up to 500,000 Indonesian rupiahs (about $55) each month. But things have been improving since they started the microfranchise business six months ago. The couple runs the business from their home and, until last month, were Ruma’s highest-selling operators, earning a profit of up to 8,000 rupiahs (about 90 cents) each day. Though their main customers are neighbors and friends, Apoy also reaches out to the network he has developed through his other jobs.
Recently, Sariyani and Apoy had a new baby! Now they can rely on selling airtime to supplement the income they still make from selling shrimp chips, and are thrilled that they can save money for their new baby.