Indonesia is the country with the highest Muslim population in the world. Many Muslims around the world including Indonesian Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The most important holiday is “Eid Al-Fitr” also known as the “festival of breaking the fast”, and marks the end of Ramadan. Friends and Families visit each other and exchange presents. This year’s celebration of “Eid Al-Fitr” proves to be difficult due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Since Global Micro Initiative started to grant microloans, the month of Ramadan was always the peak of our activities. Small businesses observe their busiest time of the year. As the Covid-19 Pandemic has taken its toll on Indonesia as well – many businesses are left without making any sales as the people abandoned to exchange presents this year for “Eid Al Fitr”.

Haeniah is a recent example of this situation. She´s a mother of two and received a microloan from Global Micro Initiative to open her small shop in her village. Haeniah made a living for herself and her family by selling vegetables and other goods in her own shop. By time her small shop got successful and she decided to expand her shop and employ an employee. She requested another microloan for her shop´s improvement. Due to the government’s lockdown her shop had less customers and the additional sales during Ramadan are not realized as anticipated before.

Even when missing out on additional sales e.g. by selling Satay, Crackers, Maniok-Chips and snacks – Haeniah is able to deal with the situation. Thanks to our seminar on managing finances, she was able to increase sales and save money for harder times like now. Other participants of our microloan programme are dealing well with the situation even with less income to support themselves and their families.

When the lockdown in Indonesia is going to be eased – we will be ready to aid our small entrepreneurs again!

Translation: Mustafa Pamuk