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An Update

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I haven’t been writing in this blog for a long, long, time.

So here’s the updates.

1. The CRMs

After Daniel (the first CRM Indonesia) left i was in bali bymyself for the whole month, and then the new manager, Puck came and now we are welcoming the 4th CRM Indonesia Julee from Belgium! The more the merrier! it is so excited having them around so i am not all alone and we have discussed to do these plans for the upcoming week. i feel revived. Sadly, my time with Zidisha will be done in another 2 weeks. but i surely wish that there will be upcoming volunteers, events, and potential borrowers!

2. Second Verification partner

As we are moving now with our second verification partner, Surabaya, hopefully the contracts will be finalized quickly so we can more smoothly reach other potential borrowers in other parts of indonesia (oustide Bali). our second verification partner is Yayasan tiara that i have previously mentioned before. yayasan Tiara is an organization that trains and educates disable people through its own recruitment. Yay!

3. New Potential Borrower

After Dewi, we have Ahmadi which haven’t received the funds due to Ahmadi’s delayed national identification process. So to make sure for both lenders and borrowers that we are trying our best to facilitate the best interest for both parties, we want to make sure that the borrower has their own account on behalf their name by scanning their bank book to us. Hopefully everything will be done by next week. The money transfer itself just takes a second, but the obstacles lay in the working culture in Indonesia that can be really slow and cumbersome (thank you, government!)


After Ahmadi, i went to Lovina Beach and we got Bapak Made as a potential borrower, but haven’t been verified yet due to the same circumstances i mentioned in previous paragraph.

The other potential borrower that Daniel got when i was out of town but failed in credit history screening process as she still has some outstanding debts.

Our newest borrower is Ibu Pipit, the owner of a warung in Sading that i used to eat in everytime. She successfully went through our credit check verification and is now waiting to raise her loan (at this time it hits 28%).

4. Socialization

During the time when there is no potential borrower to follow-up on or no works to be done i went to places like local market in Badung, Sukawati Traditional Market, and other markets around Ubud and Sading to hand out pamphlets by talking briefly about what i am doing in Bali, and Zidisha. But i don’t think that was the best way to socialize people about the program. All we need is a great contact and from there it can spread out through the areas. At that time, i did not have a great contact, and it was difficult to find one.

And as we lean on Yayasan Timor Sejahtera, we have to wait for them to give us one or some.

5. Obstacles

It is not that easy to break in a culture, not even me as an Indonesian. The whole societal and cultural environment in Bali and in Java (where i come from) is totally different. And indeed, i do find it difficult to break in the barriers comparing when i am in Java. And i didn’t even realize it until pak Alit mentioned it to when Zidisha’s director: Julia came to bali.

The other obstacles, i personally think, that we need to have more contacts and other NGOs to work with. At this time all we have is YTS and Yayasan Tiara that haven’t fully proactive because they have their own organization and core activities. And people say that you can’t step on two boats at the same time.


Three of us will have this training session in West Bali for 4 days this wednesday. And i’ll get you guys back on that.


Written by cornelliawithzidisha

October 1, 2011 at 7:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Getting Lost

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Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.  ~Henry David Thoreau

I got lost a lot in Bali. I was here couple of times before i do this for Zidisha, but they were totally different trip. This time, i ride a motorbike to travel without knowing any single road and path. My journey started by following Daniel to Kuta, from then on i (tried to) figured out how to get where by seeing the signs on the side of the street, but it did not make any much difference. When you have no idea about any areas whatsoever, your mind is pretty much blank, not knowing where is east nor west (which Balinese usually use as a word in referring a place-“go east on the police station”-i would go “errrr… where is east?”). Despite of my good sense of direction, was today unusual. In the morning me and Daniel went to Dewi’s house to make a video of her business. Apparently they finished packing the day before so i decided to call Social Service in Bali to get any information regarding any other NGO that we can contact or perhaps areas needed the most.

From Mengwi (Dewi’s House) it takes 30-40 minutes ride to Sanur. The Social Service is around Renon (10 minutes from Sanur). But due to numerous one-way streets, uncertain road names, it took 2 hour for me to finally arrive in the Social Service. I met some people who initially gave me the snarky look at my sandals (okay, my fault-i will remind myself to wear more proper clothes and shoes next time i go to any governmental office) and told me they could not disclosed any whatsoever information to me. “Go to kecamatan”, said one of them in a distasteful voice. I had a gulp, but forced my self to make the widest smile. “Okay, Terima Kasih” i replied, but before i left one of them got curious and asked me in details of what Zidisha loan is. After a lengthy explanations (i don’t want to mislead anyone by giving partial information), two of them took my cellphone number and looked very interested to spread the words to their relatives in need: “My nephew must be very excited to hear this loan! he needs it!”. I was gleeful hearing the reaction, and the feeling reminds me why i got into this microfinance in the first place.

After got lost finding the Social Service, i went to the Hospital, and again, I was lost for an hour before finally found the hospital. I got allergic reactions in some parts of my bodies (mainly in the arms) and it gets very itchy every time i ride the motorbike or finish my shower. I was ignoring it at first because i am the kind of person who is never get sick, never hospitalized, and do not have any allergies, so i thought this too will pass. But i was wrong, it got really worse today and i kept scratching it up to the point that it bleed. I was prescribed some medicine (the doctor could not figure out the allergy), and if it doesn’t work i will go and do the prick test (test to analyze kinds of allergic) tomorrow.

So it puzzled me, what happened with me today? Why would i kept getting lost unusually today?

But then it came to me that if i didn’t get lost, i wouldn’t learn that road A is a one-way street, i wouldn’t learn that there is a 6 intersection that leads to X, Y and Z, and i wouldn’t learn that road B and C is actually adjacent to each other. I wouldn’t learn many things to day if i weren’t get lost.

I should get lost.

Because by getting lost, i am learning.

Written by cornelliawithzidisha

July 13, 2011 at 9:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tambak Lele (Catfish farm)

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Zidisha was referred to this Organization named Yayasan Bina Karya Tiara in Surabaya, East Java, about 45 minutes flight from Denpasar. Reading its profile, i was really interested and made an appointment with its founder (and owner), Ibu Titik, right away. I felt that it could be a great start to find the most needed borrower, substantially inasmuch as in Indonesia disabled people do not have their rights enforced yet.

After calling Ibu titik for an appointment Thursday, last Saturday i flew to Surabaya to meet her in her place which also lodge many of the members. There are 43 members, and all of them are disabled. From having birth defect, paralyzed, his/her leg amputated, etc.

In her cramped balcony, around 6 people are sewing the bags with heaps of fabrics all around them. She welcome me enthusiastically, letting me in to her office full of handmade bags that are ready to be sold in the market or shipped to the buyer. We talked about how disabled people are considered a curb in working, so most of the companies do not want to hire them. Or even if they do, it usually would be only for a short-term because the companies do not have any confidence on them in the long-run, thinking that those disabled people would not be able to enhance their skills nor the jobs. In this loophole, Ibu Titik Winarti’s organization slides in, trains those disabled people hoping that from there they can get the appropriate knowledge and/or skill to survive in the society. Ibu Titiek’s members are recruited through the local Social Service that holds a recruitment every year for the disabled people to be financed and trained. Those who do not make through the recruitment are recruited in Ibu Titiek’s organization. Ibu Titiek told me that the disappointment of those disabled people broke her heart and inspired her to do so.

After took a quick tour through her place, she called one of her most outstanding member to make a loan. His name is Ahmadi, but people call him Ucil. Having the experience in borrowing from a local financial institution that offers 6% interest rate, the process of verification is daunting for him and his family. The local institution insisted to meet his family which terrified them. His parents had never had any formal inspection before, and fear of the unknown is just the worse, especially for marginalized people. They afraid to lose their collateral, and the whole process were too overwhelming so they insisted that Ucil cancelled the loan.

Ibu Titik explained to him what is Zidisha, what does Zidisha do, and how the loans work, and made him signed up in Zidisha immediately. Due to his limitation in using the internet, Ibu Titik helped him through the application with me assisting them. He is now waiting for the verification and hopes that he can post the loan as soon as possible. I had a great conversation with him, and he told me about his dream of getting married, making money out of his “tambak lele” (cat fish farm) that he visits once a month. Not only he wants to expand his tambak lele to tambak gurame (carp fish farm) that is more profitable, But also he wishes to one day buy a pick up truck so he can sell vegetables in Surabaya. Because in Jember (his hometown) the price of vegetables is inexpensive so he wants to utilize the price disparity.

In satire, He told me that he wants to get married since he is 28 years old now and girls must be wanting to marry to him once he has money despite of his disability. Ibu Titik mentioned that Ucil felt that he is failed to make his parents happy, because unlike his normal siblings, he can’t contribute any income for his parents. Ibu Titik helps her members that in need of capital to establish a business, but she can’t do it for everyone and it would be impossible to do so forever so she thinks that Zidisha is a good fit for her organization. She is very excited in communicating this organization to her member, and even offered to spread Zidisha out to a larger community in the rural areas. Eventhough she found that BNI (the bank that Zidisha use to distribute loan) is a little bit a hurdle for the rural areas whereas they do not have any easy access to the city, she suggested that int he long run Zidisha may want to use BRI instead. The thing about BRI is, i explained to her, as a foreign organization we cannot make an account due to more restricted financial policy in indonesia regarding terrorism, corruption and money laundry. But, we definitely will take that as account in the future. Hopefully, soon.

Ibu Titik hopes as soon as Ucil gets the loan, if all goes well, he would be a great example to the other members to borrow a loan from Zidisha.

*ucil is the one in the red shirt


Written by cornelliawithzidisha

July 12, 2011 at 6:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Bali, Unbelievably Different.

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People always take things that they get easily for granted.

Growing up in Indonesia, believe it or not, i have never been out of my island (Java) besides Bali. Many people transmigrated to Java on account of its fertile land up to the point that it is facing over-population problem, which led to a cliché ignorant attitude among its people over other provinces, including me.

I have been to Bali for a couple of times, but there is something different this time.

Either it be the fact that i ride a motorcycle instead of a car that used to soak up my spectacle for the surrounding, or the fact that i know that i am going to stay here for a quite sometime instead of just visiting. So rather than acting in my usual predisposition as a tourist, being happy-go-lucky, seeing things that i only want to see and doing things that i only want to do, i keep telling myself that this time i have to adapt to the culture and whole new environment.

This is my third day in Bali but i have witnessed many startling cultural differences (compared to Java). I did not expect that any random guy (usually young)  in Bali would whistle over a girl who is riding a motorbike, but they do, even calling names. If i were in Java, it would be considered an insult, and i would have been turned my motorbike around and scolded whoever those guys were. I was upset at first, but i found out that it was never meant to be an insult but rather than a compliment. And so does random conversation when you’re stopping for a traffic light by other people.

I still can’t grasp the idea that Balinese are so friendly. But they are. Unbelievably are.

My sister who coincidentally is coming over and me were talking about this difference compare to Java that is more strict about clothes and sensitive about race. I have to warn you regarding the informal syariah law that is forced in Indonesia, but forget about that when you’re in Bali. As a Chinese-Indonesian, i have this constant fear about not riding any public transportation (besides taxi)  or wearing any inappropriate clothes when i am in public (such as short pants) in Indonesia for it will attract people’s attention and therefore occurring the possibility of them calling me names like “Cina” (Chinese). Any public space that has no Chinese-majority is not considered safe, especially in smaller cities so i never went to any concert or any festival in Java. But unlike any other provinces, Balinese are open about being different. It is like a (semi) land of freedom for Indonesian.

As for microfinance in Bali, i met with Pak Wayan (one of the head of koperasi) in Bali that told me and Daniel lots of things, but his main point was, it is going to be difficult to find borrower that Zidisha wants (as any other people told Daniel too, according to Daniel),  but he is willing to open his place to gather people from his village and we (me and Daniel) can do presentation about Zidisha and see who is interesting. It is going to be a slow week since Galungan and Kuningan (Balinese public celebration for Hindu) will last about 10 days, so our potential borrower might be too busy in preparing this celebration. So in the meantime, i am planning to contact other NGOs outside Bali to find other potential areas for Zidisha to slide in.

Written by cornelliawithzidisha

July 6, 2011 at 10:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized