Tanah Abang, one of the most densely populated areas in Indonesia, is home to the largest textile market in Southeast Asia that has been operating since 1735. Located in central Jakarta, Tanah Abang is considered a slum area, with countless families sharing houses along the railway line through the city.
Since 2012, ANZ has worked with the Yayasan Anak Cinta Bangsa (YCAB), the ‘Foundation of the Love of the Nation’s Children’, a non-profit organisation that focuses on providing micro loans to women in slum areas. To date, 172 of YCAB’s clients have attended MoneyMinded training, ANZ’s adult financial literacy program provided in 18 countries across Asia-Pacific. Many of these women were small business owners, mothers and the breadwinners of their families.
Due to the nature of their living conditions, these same women were considered “unbankable”. Despite operating profitable businesses, with some bringing home more than 9,000,000 Rupiah per month, they found it difficult to save even 100,000 Rupiah per month before the training.
Ibu Sanarmi was one of these women. The proud owner of a hair salon and juice stall, Ibu Sunarmi has been loaning money from YCAB for close to two years. While the loans have allowed her to grow her businesses, her family continued to struggle, as spending was often higher than their income. And with a sixteen-year-old daughter, Ibu Sunarmi had high hopes to be able to save enough to send her to college.
As part of MoneyMinded, YCAB clients complete six modules with ANZ facilitators, to learn the basics of money management. Topics include preparing for the future, budgeting, banking, understanding credit, managing money and developing assertiveness.
Since the training, Ibu Sunarmi has been able to better manage her money, and is thrilled to save for her children’s education and her own retirement. “I was already aware of banking products, but MoneyMinded taught me how to save up my money and prioritise my expenses,” she said.
Meet Ibu Selvie and Ibu Tati, sisters and food merchants. They live in a small dwelling alongside the railway line with three of their children. Ibu Selvie began selling food when her husband lost his permanent job a few years ago. “Some days, he worked at a construction site and sometimes he became an ojek driver (taxi driver), so he didn’t have a regular income. To help with the family’s expenses, I needed to step up,” she said.
Both Ibu Selvie and Ibu Tati have seen the benefit of building their financial management skills. “Before MoneyMinded, I didn’t have enough money left over to save up,” said Ibu Tati. “After receiving MoneyMinded training, I can manage my family’s money so that there is always money left over, no matter how small, to save up.”
Previously, Ibu Tati could never imagine how she would afford her two children’s university educations. Now, she is actively saving for this and is even teaching her children to save their own money. She has a savings account and an ATM card, which she admits she is cautious to use for fear of wasting her money.
Since participating in the program, Ibu Selvie has expanded her business. While previously selling only finger foods, she has widened her range to sell heavier meats. Both she and her 8-year-old child now have bank accounts, and she has even taken a loan from the bank to buy her own house.
Many of these women were small business owners, mothers and the breadwinners of their families. Due to the nature of their living conditions, these same women were considered “unbankable”.
With the first year of the program now complete, there are many more YCAB clients keen to participate. Veronica Colondam, Founder of YCAB said, ” The program has helped to increase the business knowledge of the low-income entrepreneurial women in our cooperatives to inspire them to pursue better lives for their families. I would also like to thank each and every ANZ volunteer who have dedicated their time to take part in this program. ”
YCAB helps more than 7,000 women in slum areas across Jakarta, so the challenge for all is to ensure there are enough facilitators to meet the demands from the region. To boost the sustainability of the program in Jakarta, ANZ will be training YCAB field officers to facilitate MoneyMinded. There is much more to be done to ensure these women can prosper and pursue better lives for their families.
Courtesy of Photographer: Andrew Octaviano