Survivors of 2018 Earthquake and Tsunami in Donggala Build Businesses

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Laila Afifa

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  • Members of Usaha Bersama Group in their kiosk in Tompe, Sirenja, Donggala, Central Sulawesi, December 15, 2021.

    Members of Usaha Bersama Group in their kiosk in Tompe, Sirenja, Donggala, Central Sulawesi, December 15, 2021.

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe survivors of the 2018 earthquake and tsunami in Sirenja, Donggala, are still trying to restore their life. With capital assistance and training, the community rises and develops businesses.

    ULFA Asri now holds her mobile phone more often. Sometimes the 49-year-old woman opens Facebook, occasionally Tiktok, but not just for fun. “(To check) online sales,” said the resident of Tompe village, Sirenja Subdistrict, Donggala, South Sulawesi, on December 15.

    Ulfa Asri is not alone in dealing with online sales. Some of her friends in the Usaha Bersama (Joint Business) Group, consisting of 15 women, also do the same activity. Ulfa is the group’s treasurer that was formed some time after the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed much of their and other villages in Central Sulawesi on September 28, 2018. The disasters took away people’s livelihoods. More than 4,300 people were dead and around 170,000 lost their homes.

    There was a time when they got on separately, but in 2020, Ulfa and her friends were united in the Usaha Bersama Group. Started from producing and selling fish floss, now, their rented shop—located at the roadside of Jalan Madusila in Tompe—is full of goods. Three freezer storages are full of a variety of frozen processed seafood, beef and chicken, such as nuggets, sausages and meatballs. There are also two refrigerators. In a cabinet, several honey bottles from Sigi Regency are neatly lined up. They also sell banana chips and shredded coconut.

    “For three months until September, we have obtained around Rp44 million,” said Raodatul Jannah the chairperson of the Usaha Bersama Group. “We divided some of the earnings (to group members) and put the rest as the group’s capital.”  

    The table at the shop that is normally used as the keeper’s worktable, which is done in turns by the group’s members, is piled up with notebooks on finance and business. “We take note of everything so that we know the development of our business, openly,” said Raodatul.

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