Several years ago, Menci’s family couldn’t afford to eat nutritious meals each day. As a mother, she dreamed of sending her three children to school. Living in poverty in a rural Indonesia makes for a very challenging environment for families to save enough to educate their children, thus creating a seemingly endless cycle of generational poverty. “I grew up in a farming family – we grew vegetables on a small plot of land which has been handed down through generations. My husband and I wanted to work the land we inherited to support our family, but we did not have enough money to start. We were very poor.”
When Menci and her husband, Kefas, learned about Opportunity International, they knew it was the help they needed. They received a loan and were able to buy seedlings and fertilizer to help jumpstart their farm. “I bought spinach, kangkung (a leafy vegetable) and cabbage. Now I can harvest twice a week!”
Menci and her husband are using their income from the farm to provide for their family and send their children to school. Now, they eat regular meals of rice and vegetables from the farm. Menci knows the value of education and is hopeful her children with have a better life. She is even able to start saving for her family’s future!
Mothers like Menci, all over Indonesia, are working hard every day to start their own businesses in order to support their families and send their children to school.
When loving wife and mother Sara found herself widowed and alone with no way to support her five children, she feared for the family’s future. Despite her grief over the sudden loss of her husband, she knew she must lift herself up to ensure her children were fed. With no business experience and no capital to get started, she collected wood to sell outside the family home. The days were tough, and Sara recalls many sleepless nights after tucking her kids into bed with nothing more than a bit of tea in their tummies.
As the years past, Sara recognized a new strength within herself. She grew her small table with a few pieces of wood to a larger operation. Still, as her children grew, the costs to support them increased. Despite the challenges of raising five kids on her own, she held fast to the dream she and her husband formed together, to educate the children against all odds.
When a neighbor invited Sara to join an Opportunity Uganda Trust Group, she recalls it took her about 10 seconds to jump at the chance. She underwent extensive business training, met new friends with whom she could seek and give support. She also enjoyed the mentoring and continued business and life skills training she received from her Opportunity loan officer.
Today, Sara is on her 20th loan cycle. She not only has one of the largest wood supplies in her village, but she has added handicrafts to her inventory, attracting new customers. Daily sales are great and three of her children have made it through the high school level with two still at the junior level. According to Sara, “I have my very own savings account and I make deposits aggressively because it keeps my dream alive. I know that each of my children will have the education they need to break free from the cycle of poverty that has surrounded me since my own childhood. I want more than anything for it to stop with me.”
In the first half of 2017, Emprendedora School maintained a student retention rate of 98%, strategically overcoming the barriers that rob Nicaraguan children of the education they deserve. The school is currently educating 318 students, exceeding the 2017 plan of 310. Keeping students in the classroom is just one success metric achieved by Emprendedora School. As of September 30, 2017: