COVID-19 poses enormous challenges for the population of Indonesia. To counteract these, the people in Southeast Asia are working together to find solutions for the current situation. One of them is the small entrepreneur Farmi.

Farmi, a microcredit recipient, has been sewing face masks for needy people from the surrounding area for several weeks. This is not usually part of her everyday business. Normally, the mother of two produces crackers and sells them to the inhabitants of her village in the east of the island of Lombok. Before that, her husband’s monthly salary of 130 euros was hardly enough to live on.

In the last two years, the businesswoman has been such successful with her cracker shop, which she was able to expand considerably with some of our microloans, that she was even able to double the income of the family of four. Through GMI-sponsored seminars, she learned proper accounting and was able to make a significant profit. As a result, Farmi was also able to develop plans to expand her business to other villages.

However, during the current exit restrictions, her store’s sales have all but dried up, putting her and her family in a financially threatening situation. The demand for her crackers fell more than ever before. Due to Corona and the resulting restrictions on the population, she is forced to rethink and fill the family fund in other ways.

In cooperation with Gema Alam, she came up with the idea to sew the urgently needed protective masks for the population and sell them in her shop. In addition to the sale in the shop, some of the masks produced are also donated to vocational training centres in eastern Lombok. Poor villagers also receive free face masks from Farmi. “If you can buy a mask, you pay. Those who cannot afford it do not pay. It’s as simple as that,” explains Farmi.

“In such challenging times as these, one thing doesn’t fall by the wayside in one of the most populous regions of the world: humanity,” explains Tobias Schüßler, 27-year-old GMI founder. “Even though the population in Indonesia is far from the European standard of living or health care system, people help each other even more. Small entrepreneur Farmi’s face mask campaign is just one of many examples of how, with the right support, people can learn to rise above themselves. We are pleased that GMI is part of this development with its donation-funded microcredits and training.”


Translator: Ronja