The Hidden Responsibility in Micro-Financing

Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

To All the Donors/ Members of the Public:

May this letter find you and your families all in the close protection and loving care of Allah swt. We are hoping to continue our donor program under the Human Needs International, which provides for micro-financing opportunities to the poor who intend to participate in small scale business enterprises.

May Allah swt reward you all commensurate with the hidden significance of your participation in charitable projects, whether in Indonesia or elsewhere.

What is this “hidden significance”? Our Field Consultants, who have over twenty years’ experience among the SE Asian poor, tell us that the dominant feeling among the poor whom we hope to serve is that of being ABANDONED.

Banks cannot help them, as they do not qualify with any sort of surety to secure even small loans. The normal flow of charity their way is most often discontinued after a certain period of time, whether from greater needs arising elsewhere in the donors’ lives, or from the donors’ failing to understand that such recipients may never be entirely free of the need for help in moving their lives forward.

Let us take one simple example. With an investment of a few thousand ringgits, one young mother has been able to set up a small food stall in front of her parents’ home in central Yogyakarta, which meets the basic needs of her own family (including one newborn) and her aging parents. We had moved her project over to the “stable” category, since, like so many of our recipients, once they have attained an optimum level of support for their loved ones, they do not aspire to more.

The level of tourism, at least from young Europeans, has risen again in Yogyakarta, and it seems that the property across the street from her family home has recently been purchased by a certain individual who plans to make it into a small hotel renting rooms by hourly rates.

Neither our recipient nor her family wish to feed or serve the obvious future clientele of this hotel in any way. Therefore, a new need has arisen to help them relocate their roadside business to an area that will not involve young “sex tourists”.

For this, they will need approximately the same amount of money they requested originally, in order to rent new space and buy some new equipment that will allow them to move the food from their home, where it is cooked, to the new location, instead of simply carrying it across the street as before. The figure they request is Rp. 1,500,000, equivalent to MR 600.

Another roadside stall (in Solo) that had been supporting a husband, wife, and the wife’s aged mother, needs to be expanded in its supply of fruits for sale due to the young woman’s recent pregnancy, which is a joyous event in the family’s life since she is the only child.

This couple have hit upon a unique method of supplying their present fruit stall by paying monthly fees to families in nearby villages in exchange for taking the saleable fruits from trees which the villagers own, cleaning them at home, and selling them from their downtown shop. As the woman’s pregnancy progresses, she will need extra help in collecting her fruits from these village trees. The extra donation will not be much, however, it must be enough for this project to maintain its “stable” (i.e., solvent) status in meeting the needs of this family.

We pray for your assistance in not abandoning these good people, who have done so much for so very little in capitalization, especially since they have neither participated in nor even been aware of any of the recent disturbances occurring in the vicinity of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta. Furthermore, in line with Human Needs’ strategy, these and others like them only wish to care for their young families and aging parents, and will never be allowed to burden Human Needs unnecessarily.

No banks can provide such assistance. No individuals can blindly send money to these areas without risk. Human Needs therefore offers expertise to secure your contributions in the field as they are applied, as has been done in Bangladesh and even by the mother of the US President Barack Obama when she was pioneering micro-financing in Indonesia in the 1950’s.

May Allah guide your intentions, and even your Solat Istikharah, if such be your means of decision making in response to this appeal. Thank you and Wassalam,

Azril Mohd Amin

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