Church World Service  
Hunger & Development

Self-Empowerment Brings Success in Indonesia

Nur Iman Gulo with her youngest daughter 
and a sample of the food she makes in her shop. 
Photo: CWS

By Lesvi Roselim, CWS-Indonesia

Today, Nur Iman Gulo has a small shop and lots of customers, thanks to help from Church World Service. The very simple building that serves as the shop and the home for her family of seven--including four kids and her mother-in-law--is located in Tegideu village, Sirombu, Nias Island, Indonesia.

The family originally came from Tiga Serangkai village, also in Sirombu. When an earthquake hit on March 28, 2005, their home was destroyed.

"Our house collapsed and could not be occupied anymore, and we also lost our place for business," says Gulo of her fried banana business.

"Lucky that my relative let us stay at the small building she has, otherwise we would not have a place to live," says the grateful Gulo. "We now live here, but we don't know for how long," she says.

For a while they were dependent on humanitarian assistance from various organizations and a little income from her husband working as a construction laborer. However, it was not enough to cover the needs of the entire family.

Church World Service helped Gulo to restart her business making fried bananas, cakes, and cookies by providing her with ingredients, equipment, and tools, and rehabilitating the shop.

"Alhamdullilah, the business is going good and profitable," says Gulo with satisfaction. Orders are now pouring in--especially for special days such as Ramadhan, Eid Al Fitr, and Christmas. Gulo, who acquired baking skills from her aunt, has expanded her business, and now also sells small household items.

Gulo also gathers the village women together in a savings activity. The women pool their money into savings and give small amounts out in turn to members so they can start their own businesses. "Through the activity, we are encouraged to save our money for the future," Gulo says.

Support of Church World Service helps to make programs like this possible.

Updated 3/28/2007