Life has dealt Ibu Ade quite a few hard blows. After her first husband died, she was left alone to raise two children in a remote part of Indonesia. Things remained tough even after she remarried. Her older child was forced to leave school because of the family’s financial constraints.
Ibu Ade’s second husband earns 180,000 Indonesian rupiah (about $19) each week as a construction worker, but has to pay for transportation and meals at the work site.
To help support her family, Ibu Ade runs a warung (a small grocery store), earning a daily profit of 8,000 to 10,000 rupiah (about 80 cents to $1). She also found another opportunity: selling airtime for mobile phones. She is now part of a microfranchise network established by Grameen Foundation and Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative™ and managed by Ruma, a local social enterprise.
The growing network includes 10,500 microfranchisees — 85 percent them women — who serve more than 1.5 million customers. In addition to selling mobile airtime minutes to local customers, microfranchisees can use the phones to provide customers with additional services, such as access to job listings.
On average, these small business people earn $1.10 per day, a better-than-average income in a country where 75 percent of the population lives on less than $2.50 per day. This new business has enabled Ibu Ade to increase her income by about 20 percent, adding about $2 per day to her income.