Age : 51
Dependents : 6
Value of loan : 25,000,000 rupiah ($2,670)
Loan assets: compressor, welder, sprayer, pipe,
gas tubing, carbon, compressor tubing, iron sheet-
ing, etc. – 18 items of equipment / material
Location : Padang Datar, near Krueng Sabee,
Mizwar and his wife ran two very prosperous rice mills for 25 years in Padang Datar. Mizwar’s wife man-
aged the mill, Mizwar worked as a transporter, and they had six full-time employees. As per traditional
financial practice in the area, all profits of the rice mills were divided in three equal parts: one for the
owner, one for the employees, and the third spent on the business.
On the day the tsunami struck, Mizwar’s family heard a loud, thunder-like sound coming from the sea,
and people were running to the hills. When he and his family turned and looked, they could see a giant
wave coming, so they too turned and ran. There were three waves. The first was the weakest, and it
caught them, but they were able to fight it and swim to the low hill behind their house. Mizwar’s mother-
in-law was not strong enough and was pulled out to sea. The rest of the family escaped the second
wave, which was about 12 metres high, and the third, which was over 20 metres high.
When the last wave receded, the rice mills, the rice paddies, and their home were gone, and everything
around was salty, and they could find no drinkable water. They survived by drinking coconut water and
eating coconuts, and moved inland and built a tent from fabric they found floating in the water.
“We heard that help and food were arriving in Calang, so we went the 12 km to Calang by foot, crossing
two rivers. Because we were caught in the wave, we ended up drinking the dirty tsunami water, and it
made us sick. An American navy ship took us to Banda Aceh to get treatment, and then the Malaysian
navy brought us back.”
In Calang, they lived on the emergency provisions distributed by the army and NGOs, and spent three
months living in a shelter made of tsunami debris. They learned that all the rice mill employees had died
in the tsunami, as well as 36 of Mizwar’s relations.
“My initial concern was how to feed my family, so I asked all of the family to put together what money we
had to start a repair shop.” They built a rudimentary shop from debris and other materials, but the money
they’d gathered was only sufficient to buy very basic tools, so only very basic repair jobs could be under-
taken. They could not make enough money to feed the many mouths of the family.
Left to right: Mizwar’s employee, Local Motivator Abdullah Z, Mizwar and brick maker Mahmudin
At that point some friends introduced Mizwar to Abdullah Z, who had received an FBA loan to get a
gasoline retail business started, and he told Mizwar about the FBA. As the paddy fields and the rice mill
had been destroyed, Mizwar had to think quickly about what kind of business he could develop instead.
Because he had some welding experience, and welding equipment required a comparatively small initial
investment, he decided it was a viable business to propose to FBA.
Within two months, the proposal for a welding shop was approved
and the required pieces of equipment were acquired, along with ma-
terial for a roof for the shop. Thereafter Mizwar hired an experienced
welder with whom he performed welding work for any client who hap-
pened to be passing by on the road.
Thanks to a high level of customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth
advertising, Mizwar’s reputation as a welder grew, and today Miz-
war’s shop performs body repair on all kinds of vehicles – from mo-
torcycles to back-hoes. He has since hired two more employees, and
has forged a relationship with another FBA beneficiary who runs a
brick making business, to which Mizwar supplies steel brick forms.
Mizwar has also been very proactive about developing contacts with
local schools and hospitals and is contracted to do any welding and
metal work they require.
Story by Jane Kubke
Mizwar welding in his workshop