“When it rains outside, it rains inside”

When finances are tight, putting food on the table comes first and other expenses go on hold. And when things are tight for years on end, once sturdy houses can fall into perilous disrepair, with crumbling walls, gaping leaks, and structural decay threatening collapse.

So it was for three families in a Bekasi Regency village whom YPP knew through a work relationship. “When it rains outside, it also rains inside,” said Bapak Taqi, a father of five. Their neighbours across the way showed us the structural mayhem inflicted by termites.

In discussion with these families, the YPP team arranged for partial financing of home repair loans. Of the total amount available, half would be repayable in fortnightly installments, coinciding with their paydays, over a couple of years.

One of the conditions for receiving the loan was successful completion of three months of “savings” payments, in order to demonstrate their ability and commitment to making the repayments. All three families met these criteria, and the loan was released at the beginning of September 2013.

Each family decided what repairs were necessary, and within weeks all the renovations had been completed. The outcome has been overwhelmingly positive, with significant improvements to their homes being carried out efficiently and wisely.

One man dismantled his entire collapsing roof and erected a fresh, termite-free wood frame covered in durable roof-sheeting. Another thoughtfully decided to build one concrete-walled, waterproof room in the centre of his bamboo-walled house as the first part of the new home that he hopes he will eventually have.

The changes were dramatic, to our shared delight! All the more so as the months have passed: rainy seasons have brought heavy downpours and floods and the family with the new roof have stayed dry, while the family with the waterproof room have been able to take shelter with their small grandson from the knee-high floods.

One family sought supplementary loans from friends, which meant they were able to change bamboo matting for concrete breeze block walls for part of the kitchen, and replace the entranceway that was in dangerous condition. Their kitchen and bathroom still need work, but the rain doesn’t come in any more, and they are able to sleep in peace without fear of tiles falling on their heads. This is a big first step, and we hope they will do more when they can.

All the recipients of the loan have been diligent in making repayments, in one case exceeding what is required so that the loan can be repaid more quickly.