"Training from SPPQT helps me to run my own life"

02-02-2015 Life hasn't been easy for Ms Ngatiyem. Her land was not always that profitable. When she didn't have any money to pay the school fees for her children, she would go into the forest and collect wood, to sell at the market. But things are looking better now. Let's listen to her:

"I am a farmer and chairperson of a savings- and loan cooperation on the Island of Java, Indonesia. I am 44 years old. I have a husband a 2 children. Of these I am very proud. One is studying and the other one will continue on the farm.

At the moment I am growing maize, rice, watercress and spinach. And I enjoy it. It is good to work on the land and to be able to bring my own crops to market. I enjoy eating my own vegetables as it saves money. With some other farmers we started growing melons. That is really good business.

Recently I have installed a water well on my land. I saved up for it. It cost 2 million rupees, approximately EUR 140.  I paid for it but other farmers can use it as well. I think water is from nature so anyone can use it. 

I have been chairperson for our savings- and loan cooperation for nine years. It is an all-female group. We started as a producer group but now we are a cooperative. We are part of the Central Java farmers’ organisation, SPPQT. We have 88 members and only the members can get a loan. But there are many more people who want loans. People want loans for all kinds things: to buy seeds or send their children to school.

But we never give out more loans than the money we have in the bank. And people have to pay back after 5 months. It is rare that people cannot pay back their loans. Sometimes people can pay back their loans quicker and then they want to borrow again. We like that as it brings us more interest. People can also put their savings in our coop and then they receive interest.

We have an interest rate of about 2 or 3 percent. At the end of the year the interest earnings are divided between our members. In 2013 we had a profit of 5 million rupees. That came to a profit of 61.000 rupees per member. 

We would like to have new board members. Many ladies on the board have been there for a long time and they would like to give the position to someone else. But it is difficult to find new people who want to take responsibility. We try to bring in young ladies as trainees. I hope that works. It is quite a challenge

The social pressure is sometimes difficult. I live in a Muslim community. Sometimes when I go to a training for a day or two, people from the village will ask me where I have been and what I have been doing. I always explain but sometimes they don't understand.  Despite of all these questions I am proud to receive training from SPPQT. That also helps me to run my own life. That is a good feeling." 

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