January 14, 2014

My husband is proud of me

Erlina joined the sewing group because her husband wanted her to be involved in other activities aside from her chores as a housewife. From Monday to Friday, Erlina has attended the workshop to learn the basic skill of sewing. Her perseverance and desire to learn eventually led to her being able to create bags. She never imagined that the bags she made would be displayed and sold at various boutiques in Kuta, including the prestigious Novotel Lombok.  The sewing classes have developed Erlina’s confidence, provided her the opportunity to make new friends and have empowered her with an income. Her husband is proud of her for developing a new skill and bringing in an income, all the while managing the household tasks and the children.

November 07, 2013

I earn money and it makes me happy

Warida,  a 28  year old  women is one of Bersahara’s beneficiaries from Ujung Kuta Village.  She is a teacher at kindergarten school and lives with 2 children and her husband who works as casual labor. Even though she is teacher she has no income from her job because it’s a voluntary job.
Warida has been a part of the sewing class since last year when her sewing ability was very basic.  At the beginning she just wanted to improve her sewing skills and never expected to earn income. 

After a couple of months, Warida and her friends earned income monthly not only from wages of making the bags but also from the sales profit.   “I earn money and it makes me happy,” she said.  Her husband is happy and proud of her as well because she is not only get skill but also income to support the family.

July 30, 2013

The Breadwinner from Sade Village

Inaq Janap , is the 50 years old woman from Sade Sasak Village Lombok who has been weaving most of  hand woven fabric at our store . All of the fabric has been woven on the front porch of her simple house in Sade.
We met her a year ago when the sewing program started. We wanted to use local fabrics and used the popular Ikat from Sade in another form and various colors. Obtaining accurate information from weavers has been a challenge for us. Most of weavers we met never gave accurate information about the length of weaving process, price of raw material and selling price. When we found Inak Janap she told us all the information needed, including her struggling to fulfill her family daily needs and school expenses of her two sons.
As a mother of 4 children Inaq Janap’s income less than Rp 10,000 (USD 1) per day. Her husband had lost his job as a night guard at a chicken farm since the farm hit by storm.  The field they have can only grow rice once a year because rice planting in Southern Lombok depends on rain fall. She doesn’t have any option to get more income except from weaving, the skill that she has been doing since she was teenager. Her family is living from hand to mouth
Every day, from morning till afternoon Inaq Janap works weaving a Sabuk Kedogan or Antang . She only stops for a couple minutes to pray. She even skips lunch so the Sabuk can be finished as soon as possible.  Her eye sight begun to blur because of cataracts and advice from family members to have surgery is ignored because she doesn’t want to stop weaving during healing process. 
Finishing one unit Ikat Antang or Kedogan with measurement 35 cm x 300 cm takes 3 to 4 days. Usually a merchant will come to Sade village to collect Ikat and other hand woven fabrics. Inak Janap only earns Rp 20,000 – Rp 30,000  ( USD 2- USD 3 ) as sales profit . Sometime she earns more if a tourist comes to her house and buys her ancient natural dyed ikat which she made and has kept since she was teenager. But this only happens once a while because Inak Janap can’t even speak Indonesian . When a tourist comes to her house her neighbors who can speak Bahasa and Basic English came to the house and bring all the hand woven pieces to be sold. She can’t do anything to attract attention of buyer than smiling to witness transactions between her neighbors and those tourists while hoping that someday her family live condition will change.
Our meeting with Inaq Janap is like an oasis for her. At that time she needed money to send her 3rd  son to further his study at a college in Java and the youngest one at Junior High School in Sengkol. At the beginning she found difficulties in doing our first hand woven fabric. New color compositions, using meter for measurement, estimating number of yarns, duration of weaving process first time experiences for her. She just realized that profit she earned from sales of one Ikat only gave benefit to the merchant.
Our four first Ikats were finished within two weeks and she was so happy when she received her first wages from Bersahara. Since that time she has had many orders not only from us but also from foreigner tourists that order their own color. Slowly her life began to change. If she had many orders to be finished quickly then she shared them with her relative, helping to support her wider family.
One year passed and her third son just completed his studies and is back home. The burden Inak Janap used to carry for her family is lighter now. She is inspired to continue and she doesn’t want to stop weaving because she wants her youngest son get higher education in order to have better life.  
Inaq Janap was weaving our first Ikat at the front porch of her house. Photo by Fraser Smith
 Bersahara is proud to be working with such an amazing woman and is thankful for her skills and dedication!

July 17, 2013

When Solidarity Tested

Tuesday  9 July 2013 the saving and loan meeting was held at a Brugak ( gazebo ) in Aik Lengis Kuta Village Lombok. The meeting led by Inaq Sukur , the group leader who is responsible for the book keeping as well. From 26 members there are few members who are literate and book keeping tasks are the most avoided task by members because the book keeper is not only responsible on recording all transactions but also responsible on handling money during saving and loan meeting. And since the group established 15 months ago Inaq Sukur and Lilik have been in charge  of book keeping.
As usual the members bought shares and repay the loan. Inaq Sukur assisted by Lilik recorded all the transactions. Once completed, she calculated the money to match the money received in accordance with the amount recorded on the book. She found there was difference of Rp 100,000 (USD 10).She lost Rp 100,000 which is equivalent to daily wage for 2.5 days or 10 unit shares for 10 months because members of Aik Lengis group usually buy 1 unit share every month.
The panic started to happen. All members start looked for that money and our field officer calculated if there was an error in recording but there was no error at all , the transactions recorded correctly. What did they have to do to solve this problem?
Not long after, one of member suggested that all members are responsible for the loss of that money. So each member has to pay Rp 4,000 to replace the missing money. The other suggested using money from the petty cash and the shortage paid by each member (usually a member who didn’t attend group meeting has to pay fine and it collected in the box to be used to buy stationery and emergency fund). Finally after deducting money from petty cash each member only pay Rp 2,500 to settle the missing money.
Solidarity of group from Aik Lengis Kuta has been tested through this case. Monthly meeting since 15 months ago not only a place for saving and borrowing money which benefit them financially, but also a media for sharing ,building  sense of belonging and solidarity. 

The group from Aik Lengis Kuta Village
We proud of the value shown by women from Aik Lengis, and their commitment to support each other.

June 20, 2013

Our First Project from Ashtari

In beginning of May 2013, Jean Marc from Ashtary Restaurant asked Bersahara if our sewing group would be able to make cushion covers and mattress and with confidence we said that our sewing group would be happy to have this project.

When we conveyed this good news to the 6 women from sewing group, they couldn’t believe they were, to get their 1st order from a famous Restaurant in town. They were not confidence and afraid if the cushion cover would meet the requirement requested. We encourage them to take this challenge as a big opportunity to learn new skill. Sewing techniques of cushion cover were gathered and learn not only from internet but also from books. Finally within couple days they made the 1st sample.

At our small factory in Ujung Kuta every afternoon from 2pm to 5pm,  the 6 women in the Sewing group worked diligently on their first project. They were juggling between their first interior project and completion of 20 unit bags that must be supplied to our store and Novotel. After two weeks 10 of the cushion covers were delivered to Ashtary. With 2 manual sewing machines, finally 30 cushion covers were completed including 4 unit covers for the mattress.

Thank you Ashtary,  for the trust given to us.  It’s an honor to take part in making the atmosphere at Ashtari. One of the finest spaces to relax, enjoy great food and the stunning beauty of the South cost of Lombok.

April 05, 2013

Learning from mistakes

We all make mistakes including our beneficiaries in Bangkang. Every month our group in Bangkang holds group meeting where they come for saving , making payments  and taking loans.
Last month on March 6th our field officer didn't come to their meeting. It was the first meeting without our presence .With big effort they tried to fill out the documents of saving and loan  because usually our field officer guides them step by step.
When we reviewed the documents, we found some mistakes and realized that they  haven't completely understood how to fill out the forms.
Today in their group meeting we assisted them to find the mistakes  and how they can be solved. Finally they understood and have learned from their mistakes.  The group leader and the book keepers worked together to fill out all the documents by themselves . Ina Marta  finally understands how to calculate the final balance  in their cash box , Hj. Nuraini finally has learned to fill in the number of shares of members in to the general ledger form and  Ina Endang now understands how to fill in the  loan payment form. All of them have learned from their mistakes.

March 13, 2013

Health Celebration on International Women's Day

Friday 8 march 2013 was totally about the women. International Women's Day is an important day for women all over the world and off course Bersahara wanted this day to be all about our women.
For this day we chose “celebrating health” as our theme. We believe that empowerment starts with a good health, together with education, training and income generation.

Many women in Indonesia suffer from unstable blood pressure and diabetes. Main causes are unhealthy nutrition habits and a lack of regular check-ups. Just by educating them on these two simple things we can avoid unnecessary health problems and contribute to the empowerment process.

In order to celebrate International Women's Day , we offered the women a 'healthy present'. Dr. Desi Silaen, general practitioner and expert in natural healing visited our office in Kuta. Together with her team from Mataram , they did health examination for the women. There were 100 women who received blood pressure and glucose test. As the outcome 5 women have diabetes , 20  have high blood sugar and the others have problem with common diseases like headache and back pain that caused by lack of drinking water.
After the check-up they got not only health advices and explanation about how the importance of drinking water as natural remedy but also medication and a goody bag which contains a calendar and fruits .

International Women's Day was a success! We are so grateful for the help we got from Doctor Desi Silaen and volunteers from Adventist Church Mataram. They did an amazing job!
 In the future we will try to give the women extra lessons about health and hygiene.

Consultation with Dr. Desi Silaen.
Blood pressure test

Glucose test
Goody bag 

Goody bag: calender, fruit, healthadvice 

Big thanks to Elite Havens Lombok, Yuli Home Stay Kuta , Harapan Keluarga Hospital Mataram, and  to the people who made this possible by donating and sponsoring Bersahara!!

February 22, 2013

Food for thought... for Women

In light of the upcoming celebration of International Women's Day here are some inspiring and interesting quotes about women....

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.” 
 Joseph Conrad

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” 
 Brigham Young

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it. ” 
 Roseanne Barr

“If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.” 
 Plato, The Republic

“No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”
Margaret Sanger

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” 
 Virginia Woolf

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.” 
― Alice Walker

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 
― Eleanor Roosvelt

“I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.” 
― Mary Wollstonecraft

“There is a growing strength in women but it's in the forehead, not the forearm.” 
― Beverly Sills

“You don´t have to be an anti-man to be a pro-woman.” 
― Jane Galvin Lewis

“Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.” 
― Lois Wyse