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Sydney South NSW 1235, Level 11, 227 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: 1800 812 164

© 2021 Opportunity International AustraliaABN 83 003 805 043

How Indonesian communities are innovating during COVID-19

By Opportunity International Australia

For Opportunity’s clients in Indonesia, some of the world’s poorest, every day is about thriving in adversity. However, the spread of COVID-19, lockdowns, and other hardships have really highlighted the need for strong financial tools to help those affected increase resilience and provide pathways to recover and prosper.

With our network of Indonesian partners and programs on the ground, we’ve worked together to help families respond and rebuild after a challenging year – from providing small loans to help families sustain a regular income during COVID-19, to empowering Health Leaders with essential training and providing school loans to help young women continue learning during lockdowns and school closures.

A KOMIDA officer helps an older man put a mask on


Opportunity’s network of trusted microfinance partners are working tirelessly to help millions of families in Indonesia onto pathways out of poverty, even through a global pandemic.

Loan officers fighting misinformation on COVID-19

Field Officers from our microfinance partners in Indonesia have been invaluable in keeping communities safe from COVID-19.

As well as their daily operations, TLM Field Officers officers who process loan repayments have also been delivering accurate information on COVID-19 prevention – from self-isolation to wearing face masks and hand washing – to over 100,00 clients, families and communities during the past year.

KOMIDA loan officers in masks
Photo: TLM

An entrepreneurial mother gets back on track

When the spread of COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions hit Indonesia, there was almost no foot traffic for Oom Komalasari’s booming street food stall to sell to.

After putting a hold on her business, the entrepreneurial Oom found work as a domestic worker to provide for her family in the meantime. Today, thanks to additional capital, her street food stall is back on its feet and she and her husband, Pak Sutarja, are supporting their 20-year-old son Gatot Mubarok through university.

Oom Komalasari and her family
Photo: YCAB Ventures


Health crises can affect everyone, but it’s always the vulnerable who are hit the hardest. The past year has seen Health Leaders, trained by our partners, stepping up as frontline workers to provide critical health information to their communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health leaders react quickly and effectively to the changes of COVID-19

Throughout 2020, Opportunity’s partners and Health Leaders were instrumental in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated hardships across Indonesia.

Health Leader, Uti, has been working with Opportunity partner KOMIDA for nine years and was amazed by the quick and effective response within the community.

“There were many women here who didn’t care about health, even simple steps like handwashing. When COVID-19 came, we were frightened at first but we stood together to keep our health and obey the health protocols.”

Uti leads a health workshop
Photo: CHF

Helping women carry on during COVID-19

“The virus does not look at religion, caste or money. We need to work together as a community to fight this.”

Bu Aan is one of the many dedicated Health Leaders who stepped up to the front lines to ensure life goes on during the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly for mothers.

Health Leaders, like Bu Aan, often took pregnant women in labour to hospitals, and in some cases, when doctors refused to touch them because of infection concerns, they helped delivered their babies themselves.

Bu Can leads a health workshop with a group of women
Photo: Juang Faaid


Despite the extraordinary disruptions of 2020, Opportunity International’s EduFinance programs throughout Asia grew, assisting financial institutions, teachers and schools to overcome the challenges and provide affordable education and brighter futures to their students – many of whom were remote learning for the first time.

Prioritizing the future in an uncertain time

The COVID-19 pandemic raised even more barriers for girls completing their education in Indonesia. When COVID-19 lockdowns closed her school –and all the others –Malika was forced to switch to online learning... on the family’s smartphone.

Malika’s parents used an EduFinance loan of IDR3.9 million (around A$345) to buy a laptop, meaning Malika could keep studying through COVID-19 school closures, and even form an online study group with her schoolmates to support each other while learning from home.

With a dedicated laptop to complete classwork on and stay connected to her teachers and classmates, Malika’s goal of “saving and serving the public” as a policewoman is now back on track.

Malika uses her new laptop with her family
Photo: Juang Faaid

To read even more stories about meeting challenges with courage, take a look at our Annual Review 2020.

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