Running Crispy Tofu Business to Support Family Despite Decreased Sales

Rina Lasari (38) has been running her crispy tofu business for five years. Sadly, the current COVID-19 pandemic also affects the sales. Due to lack of customers, she has to skimp on her family’s needs. For instance, she can no longer buy fresh milk for her children and instead cave them sweetened condensed milk.

Rina Lasari (38) preparing her crispy tofu that she was selling that Tuesday (6/23) afternoon. She was one of the beneficiaries of the capital assistance from the Friends of Indonesian Micro Businesses (Sahabat UMI) Program. (ACTNews / Gina Mardani)

ACTNews, JAKARTA – For an hour, Rina Lasari (38) had opened her crispy tofu stall. Unfortunately, there hadn’t been a single buyer.  With only a small stall, the mother of two starts selling deep-fried crispy tofu at 4 p.m. every day.

"I’ve been selling at this spot (On the roadside of Jalan Haji Mursid, Jagakarsa, South Jakarta) for only a month, since before PSBB," Rina said when ACTNews team met her at her shop on Tuesday (6/23) afternoon. Rina has been selling crispy tofu for five years. She moved from her old stall because it was deserted by customers, especially after the pandemic.

For Rina, the pandemic has severely affected her family’s livelihood. Selling crispy tofu has been the main source of income for her family. Her husband works as an online motorcycle taxi driver. Sadly, he, too, hasn’t had many customers.

Due to decreased income, Rina even has to skimp on her family’s needs. For instance, she substitutes sweetened condensed milk for the fresh milk that she used to provide for her toddler She is also several months in arrear with her child’s tuition fees. Every month, she has to pay IDR 130,000 for her eldest child’s tuition fees.

"The school knows I am a fried tofu seller, so they give me permission to pay past the due date if I earn only small profits,” said Rina who hailed from Subang, West Java.

In addition, she must also pay for other needs such as house rent, food, and lease for her fried tofu stall.

"Although the sales have been decreasing and I earn less than IDR 200,000 a day, sometimes only IDR 150,000 a day, I am grateful. I must continue working, or else things will get more difficult,” she continued, laughing.

Amid the pandemic that severely affects many aspects of life, Rina chooses not to relent. She struggles to make ends meet despite difficulties. Rina's biggest goal is to send her children to high school so that their two children can have a more decent life.

The Coordinator of the Friends of Indonesian Micro Businesses (Sahabat UMI) Wahyu Nur Alim explained, through this program, Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) aims to support businesses run by women who become the breadwinners of their respective families by providing business grants. "We are working together with the donors to support the women-owned small businesses. We will periodically monitor these businesses,” explained Wahyu. Last May, Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, Teten Masduki, stated as reported by Kontan that 16,313 SMEs were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. []