Waste Becomes Valuable: The Story of Mrs. Kupuma in Facing Life's Challenges

The life story of Mrs. Kupuma, a resilient and dedicated resident of Belawan, is a real testament to how perseverance and creativity can transform someone's life. In her efforts to provide education for her two nephews who were left behind by their parents who went to work abroad, Mother Kupuma found an unexpected way to overcome the financial challenges she faced. Through the Blessing Waste Bank (BSB) and the United Cooperative of Belawan (B3), supported by Gugah Nurani Indonesia, Mrs. Kupuma has found innovative solutions that enable her to send her nephews to school and overcome the economic difficulties she faces.

Mrs. Kupuma, a sanitation worker at the Community Health Center (Puskemas) in the Medan Belawan District, routinely collects paper and plastic waste, especially non-medical waste, on a daily basis.

As a sanitation worker at the Medan Belawan Community Health Center, Mrs. Kupuma realizes that her salary is not sufficient to cover daily expenses and the education of her two nephews. However, with the existence of BSB, Mother Kupuma sees the economic potential in waste. She utilizes her profession to collect various types of waste such as cardboard, HVS paper, and plastic bottles. After sorting the waste, Mother Kupuma contacts the BSB management to have the waste picked up, weighed, and recorded. The price she receives for each deposit ranges from Rp 70,000 to Rp 100,000, which is used to finance the education of her two nephews. Mother Kupuma saves the proceeds from selling the waste at BSB and divides it into two parts for her nephews.
BSB, established in Belawan by Gugah Nurani Indonesia, has become a solution to the waste problem in the city. In its socialization efforts, Gugah Nurani Indonesia engages the Belawan community to manage their waste and deposit it at BSB. BSB has a systematic waste management system, and the proceeds from waste sales are categorized according to predetermined percentages. In these percentages, 50% is allocated to the management, 20% for reserves, 20% for cash, and 10% for social funds, earmarked for school dropout children. The accountable recording system at BSB instills trust among Belawan residents, encouraging them to actively manage their household waste and deposit it at BSB.
In addition to relying on BSB, Mrs. Kupuma is also a member of the United Development Cooperative of Belawan (B3), established by Gugah Nurani Indonesia to assist the Belawan community trapped in high-interest loans from other financial institutions. Most Belawan residents run small businesses, such as convenience stores, that require continually rotating capital. By joining Cooperative B3, they advance their businesses without being hindered by costs. Gugah Nurani Indonesia has educated the Belawan community to join Cooperative B3 to meet their needs and reduce debt problems due to high interest rates.
At the end of 2021, Mrs. Kupuma faced difficulties when her house caught fire due to an electrical short circuit. This resulted in financial losses, and she had to rebuild the house as her residence. She tried to apply for a loan from a private bank, but seeing the high interest rates, she decided to borrow only a small amount. Mrs. Kupuma decided to access additional funds to repair her house by obtaining a loan from Cooperative B3. The loan installments to Cooperative B3 were paid using the proceeds from selling waste to BSB.
BSB and Cooperative B3 are interconnected. Customers of Bank Sampah Berkah can allocate their savings in the waste bank to Cooperative B3, as BSB itself is a business unit of the cooperative. Mrs. Kupuma acknowledges that the presence of BSB and Cooperative B3 has provided significant assistance to her. She realizes that waste can indeed bring blessings. Currently, her two nieces are studying at a boarding school, and Mrs. Kupuma uses the income from selling waste to BSB to pay for their education expenses at the boarding school.
The story of Mrs. Kupuma is a real example of how social initiatives like BSB and Cooperative B3 can provide hope and tangible change for the community. Through education on wise waste management, Gugah Nurani Indonesia has helped the people of Belawan break free from the cycle of poverty and debt.

Written by: Juliana Nainggolan (FAD Medan CDP)
Edited by: FD Team

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