The earthquake of May 27, 2006 is the worst disaster in Indonesia since the December 26, 2004, magnitude-9.1 earthquake that triggered a tsunami, killing at least 131,029 people in Indonesia alone. Another earthquake on March 28, 2005, killed about 900 people off the western coast of Sumatra.
The Real Medicine Foundation’s plan for microfinancing in the aftermath of the relief efforts was to help small businesses, either by funding the villager for a food stall, a bicycle or a sewing machine. Microfinance is a concept that had recently caught a fair amount of press due to the latest Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus being a micro-financier himself. It is not just giving fish but giving the equipment to fish. It is a method of aid that is practical, long-lasting and its effects, multiplying. Microfinance can perhaps be considered as a secondary need – important but not as urgent as say, food and shelter.