Freedom from Shame

Water.org continues to expand our programs to new geographies including Indonesia. We recently opened an office in Jakarta and started lending for water and sanitation. As a result of this new program we are pleased to share the story of Neneng.

In a country where a quarter of the rural population lacks access to an improved water source, and more than half of that population lacks safe sanitation facilities, there is enormous potential for WaterCredit to empower people to invest in life changing water connections and toilets. We recently opened an office in Jakarta, and in April our first local partner started lending for water and sanitation facilities. Thanks to the program, this woman's life has changed.

Neneng is a mother of 3, who with her husband, is raising their family in a village just 25 km west of Jakarta. While Neneng’s husband sells second-hand motorcycles, a popular mode of transportation in the city, his earnings are not enough to support the family. Neneng explains, “My husband sells second-hand motorcycles, but he doesn’t receive enough income to meet our daily needs. Hence, I wanted to trade goods, which helps to increase our family’s income. Two years ago, I became a member of KPP UMKM Syariah to gain some capital to start a business. Through this program I now trade some clothes around town. I am now holding the third loan for IDR 3,000,000 (US$ 250) to develop my business.”

The couple’s motivation and hard work keep a roof over their head and the children fed, however access to clean water and a latrine are priorities they have yet to be able to invest in at once. Neneng continues her story,

“We live in a house that is semi-permanent, with walls made of woven bamboo. A house is important for us to provide comfort and protection from the blazing sun and from the rain. As for access to water and sanitation, we do not have a bathroom or toilet inside the house. If we want to take a bath, we have to go to my in-law’s house. Likewise if we want to defecate, we have to go to the public open latrine. Sometimes I feel ashamed because I still have to join others to take a bath or ask for water when I cook. Moreover, we also feel burdened every morning when my husband has to go to work and the children prepare for school, they struggle, waiting in line for water and to use the public latrine.

Due to my timely repayment of the general loan I took to start my business, KPP allowed me to choose for another loan product (education, housing or sanitation). Since my family is in great need of a bathroom and toilet, I decided to take a loan for sanitation with a low interest rate of 1% per month. We used this loan to build a septic tank and a toilet. My family now has a complete bathroom and I no longer feel ashamed.”


This story was made possible by a generous grant from the Caterpillar Foundation.

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