Sustainable Giving
    Category: Philanthropy By : Ardian Wibisono Read : 2593 Date : Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 18:38:10

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    In 2009, Veronica Colondam was running several learning centers for poor children and school dropouts through her foundation, Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB). Although the school fee was only $1, it was hard to keep up attendance—the cost of transportation to the school could be more expensive than the school fee. She also knew the families couldn't afford it, but she didn't have any idea how to solve the problem.

    “I was just arriving at home from abroad and still had jet lag. My daughter asked me to accompany her on a school project, visiting a village in Tangerang to see microfinance done by banks and nonbanks,” she says. “I accompanied her and that was my turning point, I learned a lot that day.”

    Specifically, Veronica figured out a way to help the families of her students so they could continue to come to school and study. The idea was simplicity itself: she would provide microfinance to families only if they send a child to school, either their own child or one from the community.

    The kids didn't have to attend a YCAB school, they could go to any school. Starting in 2010, YCAB's microfinance program has disbursed over Rp 97 billion. In June, total outstanding loans had reached Rp 15.8 billion to 17,000 just within the greater Jakarta area. Each loan is between Rp 500,000 to Rp 10 million with 2% monthly interest, lower than commercial banks. So far the program has helped nearly 2,500 children get an education. To complete the cycle, Veronica uses some of the profits from the microfinance to pay for the schools, which now number 20 in all.

    Mother of three, Veronica founded YCAB in 1999 when she was 26. It started with promoting prevention of risky behavior in youth such as drug abuse; the foundation has expanded its program and gained vast recognition, including a Social Entrepreneurship Award from the Schwab Foundation in 2012. On the funding side, YCAB wants to evolve from a non-profit supported by donations to becoming a sustainable social enterprise through the vehicle of microfinance.