Lucyana Siregar
    Category: 10 Inspiring Women: Honor Roll By : Michael Roddan Read : 6881 Date : Monday, March 10, 2014 - 07:31:42

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    The offices of Koperasi Kasih Indonesia (KKI) in the Cilincing area of Jakarta, one of the poorest areas of the city, are unimpressive. The furniture is mismatched and a water stain rings the walls—a reminder of when the offices were flooded. The office swelters without airconditioning. But in this modest abode, Lucyana Siregar has big dreams—she would like to see KKI help one million Indonesians out of poverty by 2032. 

    Cilincing is filled with fishermen or labourers at the nearby port. It also where Lucyana, 29, and her University of Indonesia peer Leonardo Kamilius founded KKI to start micro-lending to some of Jakarta’s poorest working women in 2011. 

    Lucyana, a former accountant, and Leonardo, a former consultant, started KKI with a loan from an angel investor and with some of Leonardo’s savings (Lucyana holds the title of co-founder and chief operating officer). “We are not from wealthy families,” says Lucyana. “In the beginning we had nothing to fall back on to support the network, we didn’t know anyone, but we believed we had to establish KKI. It was a calling.”

    While there are many microfinance programs in Indonesia, Lucyana feels they should do more to help their clients than just give them loans. “At KKI we believe we are not just there to provide loans, but also an education to change their mindset,” says Lucyana. “If we only give a loan, a person will be prosperous for a short time. We believe that if one’s mindset is changed, their way of life will change.”

    To achieve this goal, KKI provides education and requires compulsory savings of its borrowers. For every Rp 10,000 the cooperative loans out, borrowers are required to repay Rp 2,000, which is placed into a compulsory savings account that cannot be touched for two years. “For the first Rp 2,000 they need to be pushed, but when they see the savings start to add up, they learn the benefit of savings,” says Lucyana.

    Poverty remains as one of Indonesia’s biggest issues, with approximate 100 million living on $2 a day or less. KKI provides small loans to women who own their own businesses but are not creditworthy enough for a traditional bank. For many, the only funding options they have are high-interest loan sharks.

    Lucyana hopes that KKI will, in less than two decades, be the lender of choice to at least one million Indonesians across the country. As of December 2013, KKI had loans outstanding to 3,065 borrowers, of whom 97% were women, and has loaned over $500,000. Last July, it broke even, receiving more money in interest repayments than it was loaning out. Lucyana plans to reinvest any profits into expanding the business. Nonperforming loans account for only 0.25% of its loan book.