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PO Box A524
Sydney South NSW 1235, Level 11, 227 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: 1800 812 164

© 2024 Opportunity International AustraliaABN 83 003 805 043

Turning tempeh into opportunity

By Opportunity International Australia

Asria and her daughter live on Rote Island, Indonesia. © Sarah Gray
Asria started her own business making and selling tempeh. The income helps her pay for her children's school fees. © Sarah Gray

The importance of education can be seen through Asria's story. Each day Asria rises in the early hours of the morning to prepare tempeh. She boils, peels and dries soybeans before mixing them with yeast. It’s a valuable skill she learnt from her older sister. 

Before Asria started her tempeh business, she worked in the paddy fields as a rice grinder – tough, physical work. Her earnings weren’t always enough to meet the needs of her four children.  

With a small loan through Opportunity’s partner TLM, Asria started her business making and selling tempeh – and doubled her income. In her village on Rote Island, Indonesia, tempeh is a daily staple and always in high demand. 

Asria’s day begins at 3:30am. She prepares tempeh before waking her children for school. After selling her products at the markets, Asria returns home to cook for her family and continues making tempeh until retiring to bed at 10pm. 

For Asria, the long days are worth it. When asked why she works so hard, Asria replied: “To fufill the daily needs, to pay for my children’s education. It is important for the children; they must go to school.”

“I’m happy when I see all my children go to school.”

Novelia leans over a pot to cook tempeh.
Novelia, 10, helps her mother Asria cook tempeh in the outdoor kitchen behind their home, which is then sold at the local market. © Sarah Gray

Neither Asria nor her husband completed their education. Asria was needed at home to help her parents and was unable to continue on to high school. For those living in poverty, this is a common story. Education is far too often a luxury that families simply cannot afford. 

That’s where Opportunity comes in. With loans to grow a small business—or school fee loans to cover the cost of tuition—families can provide education for their children. A crucial step on the journey to break free from the cycle of poverty. 

Thanks to her successful business, Asria hopes her children will have access to the opportunities she missed out on. 

“I’m happy when I see all my children go to school,” she said.

Opportunity's work in Indonesia is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)

Opportunity provides small loans and financial services to help families to build their businesses and earn reliable incomes. 

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