‘Rag to riches’ story of Tambunan YUM member
By: Lorena Binisol
A HUMBLE beginning driven by diligent efforts and a clear vision to succeed – these are the hallmarks of Beatrice Dalus, a 46-year-old mother of six from Kg. Pomotodon, Tambunan.
Being the first member of the Yayasan Usaha Maju (YUM) Tambunan branch which was set up in 1990, she has reason to be proud of what she has accomplished today given that she is a shining star among YUM-assisted entrepreneurs.
“I was the first member to join YUM, on Jan 13, 1990. In fact I was asked by the coordinator at that time to look for more women to be members of this programme. I did and many of them came from the villages in Tambunan and some parts of Keningau,” she recalled.
She had no idea at first what this association would bring her until she actively participated in the courses and training provided by the agency.
Beatrice readily admits that had it not been for the YUM programme, she would not be what she is today.
“Everything started from the programme, where the government encouraged rural women to participate to gain knowledge and learn about how to start a business of your choice.
“Most importantly, YUM provides soft loans to members who need it,” she said, pointing out that most of the rural women came from poor family backgrounds and did not have sufficient financial means to go into business.
Looking back after 20 years, she said hardship was the main thing that drove her to want to succeed.
“I came from a very poverty-stricken background. Everything was so tough during my time. There were times, I could just only feed my family with the kangkung I plucked from the drain to eat with plain rice.
“I could not even afford a packet of salt. Sometimes, when there was nothing for my children, I just gave them water.”
Today Beatrice owns a tuck shop in her village, rears chicken for sale and for her own consumption, sells vegetables at the Tambunan Tamu once a week and owns two vehicles for hire which are being operated by her husband.
“I bought the two vehicles, a Toyota Unser and a minibus for hire from my own earnings of many years.
My husband is operating this business now,” she said.
She used to own a small padi mill in her village but since she did not have enough manpower to man the business, she had to stop it.
She also supplies vegetables and fruits to five schools in Tambunan. “The income can be lucrative, sometimes I can earn RM5,000 plus from all the businesses,” she revealed.
Selling vegetables was her first step to building her business, starting with a capital of just RM80.
“From the RM80, I managed to get an income of about RM200, and that was my first motivation to push further,” she said.
With success came the capability to save and put money aside for the well-being of her children, the eldest of whom is now working in Kuala Lumpur. The rest are still in school.
She believes it was due to her ability to play by the rules of the YUM that she could succeed in business.
To date, she has benefitted from eight soft loans from YUM, all of which have been settled within the given time. “I am now applying for my ninth loan for my upcoming business,” she said.
It has not been all plain sailing though-there have been times when business was slow and she had to persevere to ride out tough times-but overall, things are looking up for Beatrice.
She has now also built a new house in her village at a cost of about RM80,000. “I have met the expenditure with my own savings, and I am very proud of it as I did not have to get any housing loan from the bank,” she said, beaming with pride.
Beatrice, is not alone in tasting the fruits of success through the YUM programme. At a recent course in Tambunan which was attended by 29 women, many vouched for its viability.
One of the participants, Floulerian Mailon, 52 from Kg. Toboh, Tambunan said YUM has given her good opportunity to venture into the tailoring business.
“This is the one skill that I have been passionate about since I was a young girl,” she said, thankful to the management of YUM for approving her a loan of RM10,000 she obtained in 2007, which made it possible to enhance her business, hence improve her earnings.
On average she earns about RM3,000 a month and during festive seasons when demand peaks, chances are she is in for a bonanza. “I can be overloaded with work then but my income will triple on some occasions,’ she claimed.
“I am now expanding my business, I am planning to open a Car-Wash Service Centre. With guidance and assistance from YUM, I know I will materialise this plan sooner or later,” said Floulerian.
Another participant, Fojia Celesta Bte Inting, 38, who has been operating an accessory shop in Tambunan since 2005, was glad her dream to have her own business has been made possible with the help of YUM.
Married with three children, she too is looking forward to expand by venturing into the restaurant business.
“I am still studying the business and hopefully I will get another loan from the agency to help me realise my dream,” she said.