When he was a janitor earning just 250,000 Rupiah (about $28 US) a month, Rasyidi never allowed himself to dream of the future. Survival was everything.
Now that he’s in the cattle business-and quadrupling his monthly income-Rasyidi’s world has changed. “I am happy with my life,” “I don’t have much to worry about my cows.”
Rasyidi’s new outlook is the result of a unique “small business loan” he secured from the PT. Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Company in Perawang.
“I received a pregnant cow loan from the community development division of Indah Kiat,” he said outside his rustic ranch near Indah Kiat’s operations. “It took only a month before the cow gave birth to a calf. And seven months later, the company took back the mother.”
From the original calf, Rasyidi’s herd has grown to seven cows. By selling the cow’s manure to nearby palm oil farms, which use it as fertilizer, he provides food, shelter and a dependable way of life for his family.
Indah Kiat hopes to replicate Rasyidi’s story throughout the area. We realize that the local people have enormous potential,” said Indah Kiat, Perawang mill’s community development Section Chief Ketut Piter F. Gegel.
He said Indah Kiat plans to expand its unorthodox pregnant-cow loan program. And the company will continue to offer villagers education and training about cattle farming, while providing them a reliable source of cattle feed.
“We have green bushes that can be used as fodder,” he said. “The local community can use these green bushes-free of charge-to feed their cattle.”
Indah Kiat is where Rasyidi spends much of his workday, usually focused on his cows.
“I think about them every day,” he said. But Rasyidi admits that he now allows himself an occasional daydream.
“I dream of having a 1989 Kijang super pickup (to carry the cattle fodder),” Rasyidi said, pointing to the motorcycle he uses to haul feed. “I only have this motorcycle that I borrow from my brother in Pekanbaru.”
For most people, an older pickup truck might seem a modest wish. But a former janitor, it’s more than he ever dreamed.