Sean DeWitt is a Technical Program Manager for Grameen Foundation’s Village Phone initiative to empower Indonesian communities through technology. On Friday, October 29 at 12pm ET, Sean will be hosting a webinar detailing our Village Phone work in Indonesia. Register Now!
For millions of people living on less than $2 a day, affordable and reliable access to phone services rarely exists. In these rural communities, people are often forced to travel great distances to make a phone call.
In August 2009, Grameen Foundation and Qualcomm Wireless Reach joined forces by launching a collaborative Village Phone initiative in Indonesia, which supports a social enterprise called RUMA. Created by two consultants, Aldi Haryopratomo and Budiman Wikarsa, RUMA (an acronym meaning “your micro-business partner”) supplies pre-paid telephone air minutes in small amounts at a discounted price through a network of businesses run by the poorest of the poor. Through this initiative, RUMA has helped more than 4,500 entrepreneurs serve more than 300,000 customers in their communities.
Working at small grocery store and motorbike repair shop, Cindy and her husband were unable to afford their daughter’s school fees. One day, an employee of RUMA asked Cindy if she would like to add a phone airtime service at her grocery store. Thanks to RUMA’s coaching and training, Cindy has expanded her business and is building a future for her family. She has paid for her daughter’s books, uniforms, and enrollment fees for the school year. Cindy can even afford to give her daughter lunch money every day!
Similarly, Alkhomah and her husband were struggling to survive. Her husband is a security guard and they both run a small shop out of their simple row house. With a hardworking attitude, the couple works each day to provide food and shelter for their children and pay for their educations. A RUMA employee offered Alkhomah a chance to run a business selling phone air time. With money she and her husband make selling phone airtime, they now earn enough to pay for their children’s education fees with cash instead of paying on credit.
Grameen Foundation and Qualcomm are honored to be among the finalists in the US Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center’s Partnership Award. We need your vote today to support this project empowering women like Cindy and Alkhomah. You can vote once per email address, so we invite you to Vote Today and spread the word!
Watch a video with details on this exciting initiative.