Irvandi’s story: computers for living

Published: 19 January 2009 0:00 CET

Megan Rowling, British Red Cross in Indonesia This is the sixth in a series of nine profiles/case studies, looking at how Red Cross Red Crescent has helped people to rebuild their own lives after the tsunami in Indonesia.

When the people of Panton village, in Aceh Jaya district, need documents printed or typed up on a computer, they head for Irvandi’s shop on the main road.

At the back, the 22-year-old sits behind his desk, which boasts an impressive range of IT equipment. He and his partner also sell stationery, stacked on shelves and in a counter at the front of the premises.

Irvandi lost both his parents in the tsunami, but has made an admirable effort to provide for himself and his 15-year-old brother by starting his own business.


After the disaster, the brothers received a house built by the British Red Cross and a cash grant. Irvandi spent two semesters studying information technology in the town of Meulaboh, a two-hour car ride away.

He then used the Red Cross money to buy computers, which he started renting out by the hour. He also gives training in basic software packages.

This April, he took advantage of the land title that came with his house to secure a 1,194 Swiss franc loan from Bank Pembangunan Daerah, a local development bank. So far he has used the cash to rent his shop and buy stationery stock.


“Many people are getting loans in this village,” explained Irvandi. “I did it on my own initiative, and went to ask the bank if it was possible. It only took them a week to process the loan.”

Canny Irvandi chose a site opposite the village school to set up his shop, and says teachers and students are among his best customers, along with local officials. As we talk, two women pop in to ask him to print out statements confirming they are kindergarten teachers.

“It’s not going too badly, and I am investing money in the business,” said Irvandi. “So far I’ve not had any trouble making the monthly repayments to the bank.”

One key tool he doesn’t yet have is access to the internet. But with Irvandi’s drive and ambition, it may not be too long before he finds a way to get connected.