Profiles of Community Savings Grantées – Mrs. Suparni

December 10, 2007

Erica Karapandi & Akbaroedin Arif

Name : Mrs. Suparni (30 years old)
Occupation : Kindergarten teacher and sundries store owner
Association: RT 01 RW 01 BIRIT Village

Mrs. Suparni dreams of one day owning a daycare, but since she is already 40 years old she thinks that God may have a different plan for her. Though her prayers for a daycare have not been answered, she is able to play with young children every day as a kindergarten teacher. In addition to staying busy with children, Mrs Suparni has run a small sundries shop since 2005. In the mornings she still teaches at the kindergarten because her husband, Mr. Suparmin, helps with the store during the day. Although it is said that small stores are disorganized due to the Indonesian practice of operating shops from inside the family home, Mrs. Suparni is almost finished renovating a part of her house to devote solely to the shop. Her shop provides small items for daily needs.At the beginning, Mrs. Suparni and Mr. Suparmin had no experience in sales. At first they were only selling limited amounts of goods. For example, they would sell 5 or 6 packs of cigarettes and maybe 10 packages of dried noodle; they desperately to attract more customers. They managed to develop a struggling business into a successful one using good sales strategies. Most of the goods that they stock in the store are small and cheap, only costing customers about 2.000 to 3.000 rupiah. By keeping prices low, they are able to sell out of their merchandise quickly and replace items efficiently. Because the goods are frequently replaced, Mrs. Suparni and Mr. Suparmin ensure the quality and freshness of their merchandise.

Every two days the couple buys goods wholesale from a grocer at the local market, spending about 1.200.000 rupiah for new merchandise. Mr. Suparmin estimates that their store can collect up to 500.000 to 600.000 a day, and sometimes even more around holidays. Mrs. Suparni says that around Lebaran Day (the official end of Ramadhan fasting for the Moslem holy month), since many large shops and markets close for the holiday, small sundries shops can make as much as 1.600.000 rupiah in a day.

Mrs. Suparni has been a community savings member since the beginning and has already taken out a loan for 200.000 to add capital to her business. With this loan she can buy a large amount of dried noodles and cooking oil wholesale. Buying goods wholesale allows her to make a larger profit from her shop, which does not usually generate much profit due to her low selling prices. She estimates that from a 200.000 rupiah loan, she may make 75.000 rupiah in profit. Even this small profit is enough to subsidize the daily needs of her family. According to Mrs. Suparni, the community savings group is very helpful to its members because they are able to use the extra capital to improve their businesses. If they improve their businesses, then they can increase their profits and decrease their financial burdens and worries. Mrs. Suparni thinks that the committee for the community savings group must remain disciplined about loan repayment in order for the program to run well and last a long time. She believes that the wealthier members will help the entire group by adding capital to the community savings. Mrs. Suparni also hopes that the increasing amount of savings will generate enthusiasm for repayment and help the group recruit more members.