Breaking off Financial Dependence and Freeing from Domestic Abuse
Full Name: Sri Lestari
Batch No.: Pilot, Batch 4
Date Trained: 10 - 12 August 2016
Disability: Spinal injury (wheelchair user)
Business: Knit (crochet) bags/ purse
Average Monthly Income Before: IDR 0
Average Monthly Income After: IDR 5,000,000
Sri Lestari was an orphan who was forced into an early marriage by her relatives at the age of 15 years old. She was not prepared for married life, but she had hoped that she could find a place where she could finally belong. After her marriage, her dream was shattered and altered into a nightmare by the hands of her abusive husband. Life seemed to challenge her strength even further, in 2006, her house collapsed because of an earthquake and she was buried beneath the rubble for more than 10 hours. The tragic incident crushed her spine beyond healing and she was bound to wheelchair for the rest of her life. By this time, she was losing hope for a better life, and was worried and in despair over the future of her two children. She was also in constant fear from her abusive husband.
She used to be a laborer for a renowned knitting brand, Dowa, which was famous in Indonesia and had never stopped knitting for her own usage. After attending the Maybank RISE training, she regained hope and purpose, she started designing and knitting her own products to sell to the public. Beyond her wildest imagination, her products received a tremendous demand, and people started to request products & customized products from her. This is because she used good quality materials and produced quality goods. This was because she was taught in the R.I.S.E programme to differentiate herself and her products from her competitors. Not only had her increase in sales provide her financial support that her husband failed to offer, but it also gave her a sense of confidence and independence that revived her life. Through the income increase, she was now confident to move away from her husband and bring along her daughter to Lampung, believing that their lives would get better without him and she would be able to create a safer environment for her children.
Lestari always had a dream to provide education for her children, sadly, it was a little too late for her eldest son to experience formal education. However, her courage of starting a new life in Lampung has given her an opportunity for her younger daughter to attend formal secondary school, this was something she was never able to do before. Though her body was physically disabled, her spirit has never been stronger.
Her story has become an inspiration among the disabled-community. Not only has she managed to free herself from her abusive husband, but she managed to build up her own brand and became a successful entrepreneur. With the increase demand of her products, she now has started to provide job opportunities to other disabled and marginalised housewives. She empowers & employs to these women to help her with production as she has become a good saleswoman to get more orders for her products. This is because from her gratitude of being impacted by Maybank through the R.I.S.E programme, she also wants to help others now as she has been through the programme. She also coaches and mentors them so that they too can be financially and emotionally independent. As she understood the hardship of a struggling single mother, the adversity of an abused but dependent wife, the grief of a helpless disabled person, she saw a great need of helping those who are in the same struggle. So, she is now on her own mission, to help within her own capacity, people with disabilities to breakthrough in life and income as she has done.