Wati, 43, lives in Nyalindung village in Cianjur, Indonesia. Since her husband died 3 years ago, she has been supporting their 4 children alone.
“I was depressed when my husband was sick and then passed away. I was not ready to take over his responsibility as the head of the family,” Wati says. “In the past, I fully relied on my husband for household expenditures. I didn’t have skills or knowledge to earn enough money to cover all the family’s daily needs”.
Shortly after her husband’s death, Wati began receiving social assistance from a government programme. However, the money is not enough to meet her family’s needs.
“I sometimes earn extra money when a neighbour asks me to wash clothes or clear the farm… but I have to also borrow money from neighbours and rely on charity from them.”
The price of beef has soared over the last 2 years amid rising costs of living worldwide. It is now well beyond the reach of Wati and others in her village.
“I can’t remember the last time I ate beef. It has become a luxury for me and my children,” she says, explaining that the family typically eats rice with fermented fish or soybean. When she cannot afford something to buy anything to go with the rice, the family eat it with salt or shrimp paste.