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Nur's fish business feeding her family

By Opportunity International Australia

How selling fish helps Nur earn a reliable income

Nur and her husband monitor the weather closely. If the weather is good, they know fish will be plentiful, and they get to the fish markets around 5am to buy fish for their stall. If the weather is bad and they know fish will be scarce, they’re there at 2am to pick up some of the catch. They sell grilled and fresh fish at their roadside stall in Kupang, Indonesia, that they opened with a small loan of IDR 2 million (A$200).

Nur stands proudly at her fish business

As long as there is fish available, Nur works hard seven days a week. Nur likes spicy food. She seasons her grilled fish with chilli, onion, and garlic. “At home I cook fish soup for my husband and the children. My children really love fish soup,” Nur said.

Thanks to having the capital she needs to grow her business, she has been able to earn a stable income, put food on the table and educate her three children, giving them hope for a better future. “The loans have been really helpful, especially when fish is getting more expensive. I can still buy fish to sell because I have the capital.”

Our standing at her fish market stall

When she was nine, Nur's father passed away. Despite her mother working hard, selling vegetables to support her family, they didn’t always have enough to eat. “We had less food than when my father was alive,” she shared.

I hope that in the future my children and my children’s family will never face a time when they don’t know what to eat. I hope they always have enough to eat.”

Nur finished high school, but couldn’t afford to go to university. She will let her children decide what they want to do when they finish their schooling and support them no matter what they choose. “My oldest son wants to set up a drink stall,” she said, noting that being entrepreneurial runs in the family.

The site of Nur's market stall in Kupang, Indonesia

Turning her market stall into opportunity for her family

It’s hard work and the days are long. They open their stall early in the morning, cleaning and grilling fish. They close briefly in the early afternoon, before reopening at 4:30pm and working until about midnight.

During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, business at her market stall suffered. “Sometimes there was no customers at all,” Nur said. Thanks to a top up loan, she was able to rebuild the business, which is now back on track.

Her most recent loan, that she used to grow the business to buy more fish and seasoning, was 5 million IDR (A$500). Profits from selling fish are helping Nur educate her three children — with two currently studying in high school, and one in primary school  and grow her business further.

Nur with a grilled fish she prepared

Learn more about how small loans can help women and families experiencing poverty — and give a hand up, not a hand out.

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