By Kelli Ross

Five-year-old Esther is thankful for milk. Since her mother, Phiong, joined GERHATI in Jakarta, Indonesia, and expanded her cake business, her family of six can now afford to buy nutritious food and to pay for Esther’s school fees – she’s in kindergarten this year!

Phiong in Shop

Phiong in Shop

Phiong owed a loan shark $820. Without the means to pay it back, she became desperate and contemplated committing suicide.

That’s when members of the Anggrek Ciracas loan group stepped in to help. They encouraged her and prayed for her, asking God to strengthen her and to help her overcome her family’s problems and improve their finances. Phiong received a $43 loan to purchase the supplies she needed to continue operating her small business — selling traditional cakes at a school in East Jakarta.

Five Talents partner GERHATI, a microenterprise development program based in Jakarta, also helped by securing weekly cake orders for her business. Phiong has gradually been able to pay off her debt and has now started attending services at Ciracas Church.



Her daughter Esther looks forward to the GERHATI project officer’s visits to their home. She calls him Uncle Yuven.

“I’m always excited when Uncle Yuven comes because he is nice, and he loves me and my mom just like the Lord Jesus does. One day Uncle came, and I shouted, ‘Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Lord Jesus is coming, Mommy!’”

With the support of GERHATI, Phiong no longer has debt and can pay for her children’s education.

“Now, I can drink milk and pay my school tuition fees,” Esther said. “Mom said she will start selling noodles so that my brother, Yohanes, and I can continue to go to school. I pray that the Lord Jesus continues to help us.”

This story is the first in a series – Five Weeks with Five Talents: Children of Microfinance.

In 2002, GERHATI (which is an acronym in the local language for “Gateway of Hope for Human Transformation”) was conceived and developed by Five Talents in partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Singapore and All Saints Church in Jakarta. GERHATI is working in two communities in Jakarta: Bekasi and Cipayung.

Established in 1999, Five Talents International has provided funding for business training and thousands of loans, ranging from $50 to $300, in 14 countries across Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Each loan finances a microbusiness that, in turn, supports up to six other people. A majority of the loan recipients are women.

Five Talents’ ongoing work is supported by a staff based in Vienna, Va., an office in London, England, and a program office in Kampala, Uganda. Hundreds of volunteers across the United States and United Kingdom participate in the ministry. For more information and to donate, visit .


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children of microfinance: esther in indonesia

by Kelli Ross time to read: 3 min