LATEST COLLABORATION: YAYASAN ALANG-ALANG

Yayasan Alang-Alang is an Indonesian foundation which focuses in education sector especially for children. I admire their vision which reminds me of this nation’s first fundamental points: Pancasila ideology and religions. Religions reference here doesn’t only fixed on ritual aspects but goes further into daily life implementations i.e good manner in general.

We had brief conversation with the founder, Ibu Melati. She explained her basic life principle: good quality in general will generate a good result. This concept can be applied and started from simple things like washing the ingredients of our meals thoroughly before cooking and serving them, also using reusable eating utensils with decent quality as an investment because these utensils will last longer and won’t end up as trash too quickly.

Apart from it, they engage in active interaction with underprivileged locals, showing them the importance of education and health in constructing an ideal society. They have a program called KAIT-plus, focusing in the well-being of mothers and their children. All of their programs are free for underprivileged citizens, and they provide training sessions for the women (i.e: cooking class, hand-crafting class and the others).

 
Yayasan Alang-Alang’s women.

Yayasan Alang-Alang’s women.

 
 
First training day in Yayasan Alang-Alang, Ciawi, Bogor.

First training day in Yayasan Alang-Alang, Ciawi, Bogor.

 
 
Wilma (founder of I Want to Smell The Perfume), Ibu Yati (leader of Yayasan Alang-Alang’s women empowerment program), Ibu Estin (training participant).

Wilma (founder of I Want to Smell The Perfume), Ibu Yati (leader of Yayasan Alang-Alang’s women empowerment program), Ibu Estin (training participant).

 

I Want to Smell The Perfume created our MOC (Micro Organic Community) and held the initial training in Ciawi, Bogor on July the. 24th, 2019. First group was being joined by 10 women because it was concurred with Yayasan Alang-Alang’s own women training schedule.

After one month of intense training led by our charming founder Wilma, the women are ready to start the first production. They learned very fast and the result is amazing! Kudos to all of them!

 
Last training day in Yayasan Alang-Alang, Ciawi, Bogor.

Last training day in Yayasan Alang-Alang, Ciawi, Bogor.

 
 
 
These cute Melly Market Bags will be available to be purchased very soon!

These cute Melly Market Bags will be available to be purchased very soon!

 

Written by Priliscya Isdianti, translated by Nurul Putri.

Micro Organic Community Snippet: Bantar Gebang

Bantar Gebang is well-known (I don’t want to say infamous but there you go) as the biggest open landfill in Indonesia. Hundred of tons of waste are being carried and delivered in the seemingly never ending parade of trucks, every single day. Jakarta is singlehandedly burying the site with mixed concoction of household and municipal waste, nobody bothered to segregate their plastic bottles from some rotten cabbages and chicken bones. According to the local news, if you dig deep enough, you could probably find a scattered body remains of some unfortunate souls. Somebody did. And there are literally mountains of waste, you could actually hike them. This is to illustrate how enormous the waste problem in Bantar Gebang is.

Long story short, in all respect, it’s a peculiar place to live.

I Want to Smell The Perfume met our first micro organic community (MOC) women here through Ibu Resa Boenard from BGBJ community. It was quite hard to find women who’d want to join us. Most of them were already occupied by their domestic duties and day job in a very competitive waste picking field. Luckily we still found few women to create our first MOC there.

The initial five women are Ibu Lisa (she prefers to be called “Kak” instead, actually), Ibu Eha, Ibu Encum, Ibu Unyin and Ibu Panjul. For the record, those are all nicknames. Panjul is Ibu Panjul’s eldest son (also an endearment name), best friends with Ibu Encum’s son, Entung (guess what, a nickname as well).

They are a group of friendly and extremely lively women. We usually sit and do the training in front of Ibu Unyin’s house. My first impression in meeting them in fully assembled group was “They’re very chatty! And unbelievably resourceful,”. They were like the embodiment of local news flash, I think they might know every tale and top secrets around.

 
Ibu Eha and Ibu Encum continuing their works. Small children always want some extra attention :)

Ibu Eha and Ibu Encum continuing their works. Small children always want some extra attention :)

 

I went there with our intern Yanti, who was being so kind and compassionate in training the women. She taught them how to ensure the structure is well made and how to refine their finishing technique. When it comes to teaching the women, patience is the key.

 
Yanti taught Ibu Eha how to close the stitching.

Yanti taught Ibu Eha how to close the stitching.

 

Bantar Gebang’s women only have bank account for goverment benefits. They were reluctant to open the second bank account because the nearest bank is still too far from their living area. In the end we offered to transfer the salary by Alfamart (one of two biggest chain minimarkets in Indonesia), since they have one located quite close around them. However I was very, very surprised when found that the transfer charge was Rp. 15,000 per transaction! That’s three times a bank will charge us on transfer transaction via teller, for bank account located outside Jabodetabek!

It got us thinking, these payment methods should be an option for people who can’t afford to open their own bank accounts due to access limitation. Paying Rp. 15,000 for one transfer transaction will be a big deal for them. It’s already being a big deal for us as there are more than a couple of women who couldn’t find another way to receive the salary.

Is there any other alternatives when it comes to transferring the payment to these ladies? Please share with us if you know any!

 
Si Nakal / Naughty, a sweet docile cat (not living up to his name, I see), who likes to wander around and ask for food.

Si Nakal / Naughty, a sweet docile cat (not living up to his name, I see), who likes to wander around and ask for food.

 

After few months of intense training with our founder Wilma, the women are improving a lot! They are making our new SB (Shopping Basket) article in recycled cotton yarn. They will be available soon in our online stores and point of sales. Meanwhile, here is the teaser:

 
Beautiful bags made by Ibu Encum.

Beautiful bags made by Ibu Encum.

 

Written by Nurul Putri.

The Thriving Life of West Wangurer

West Wangurer is a part of Wangurer District in Bitung Island, located at the base of Gunung Bersaudara (“Mountain of The Brotherhood”). The pathways are quite sloping up and down, but it would be lovely to go around pedalling a bicycle on sunny days there. The sky is heartbreakingly clear.


We have a new Micro Organic Community (MOC) here after the initial training in The City Major’s official residence.

A street in West Wangurer.

A street in West Wangurer.

On the first day, we were surprised by a man who was enthusiastically tagging along and asked us to join the training. His name is Syahril Sono, born and raised in Wangurer. He was unaware that this training was reserved for women only. He seemed quite disappointed by the fact, but then he told us that he is a carpenter and we promptly had this idea to make crochet hooks from wood and bamboo. We planned to distribute the hooks to our MOC women, and we asked him to craft a sample for us.

Pak Syahril Sono was crafting a bamboo crochet hook.

We were having difficulties to source locally made wooden/bamboo crochet hooks and we were grateful to meet Pak Sono with his carving skills. We aim to encourage and support him to be our crochet hooks supplier. Pak Sono’s father also made some hooks for us, carved from coconut shells, coaxed with wax for the finishing touch.

Here are some pictures to wrap up warm memories of the second batch of fishing net bags training in West Wangurer:

Right to left: Yuli, a student, tried to pull and twist some yarn in crocheting, Ibu Aisya was also doing the same while her daughter enjoyed a bowl of biscuits.

Right to left: Yuli, a student, tried to pull and twist some yarn in crocheting, Ibu Aisya was also doing the same while her daughter enjoyed a bowl of biscuits.

 

Ibu Norma brought her grandson along to training session at Ibu RT’s house. She put the baby on a mesh hammock. She was rocking her grandchild on the hammock, trying to coo him into sleep.

In the afternoon, children went on full energy mode and sprinting around the front yards, people were having conversation while standing quite apart from each other, a small amount of shouting was ensued. This place was very much alive. Mothers was spending time with their smaller children at their front porch, including this one who taught her son how to count.

A mother was teaching her son how to count with his fingers.

A mother was teaching her son how to count with his fingers.

Written by Priliscya Isdianti.

The Children of Lembeh Island

Lembeh Island in Bitung City is an island sitting by the North East side of North Sulawesi. The citizens are mostly working as farmers and fishers. The first MOC (Micro Organic Community) we created was from North Lembeh. This area is quite far from South Lembeh (Rarandam Village) which has a docking port for transportation ships. North Lembeh’s locals would need to hop on road transportation modes like “oto” (car) and motorcycles to reach Bitung City. 

I had a funny experience when I went to accompany two women, Ibu Desi and Ibu Cicit, to open their own bank account in Bank Sulut, located in South side of Lembeh Island. At that time I wasn’t thinking about how big this island is, I thought “No problem, we could casually stroll around and go there,”. The problem started when we were waiting for our transportation. No cars, no “ojek”, then I decided to borrow one of their neighbour’s motorcycle. 

None of the women could ride motorcycles.

Now please try to picture me riding a motorcycle with two women on the pillion, turning right and left, climbing up and down like a mad racer. We passed 3 mountains in total, no kidding.

The women there are mostly working as small scaled fishers, every night they would spread the nets to catch small fishes and wait for big fishing ships to pass by and buy them for baits. When they appear, the women would turn their flashlights on and off to send the signal: “Hey, we have some baits here! Come and buy!”

We were arranging the training to make Anthea Bag every 13.00 PM in a keramba (a large fish cage) owned by PT BMB. 

Keramba owned by PT BMB, where the training was arranged.

Keramba owned by PT BMB, where the training was arranged.

Lembeh Island’s women learned how to cut the fishing nets.

Lembeh Island’s women learned how to cut the fishing nets.

Ibu Cicit and Ibu Winda were trying to make the crocheted handle of the bag.

Ibu Cicit and Ibu Winda were trying to make the crocheted handle of the bag.

The training was being held during the day, so the children were often came along with their mothers. Shiren and Natalie, the two little girls, were the regulars in PT BMB’s keramba.

Natalie and Shiren.

Natalie and Shiren.

In sunny days, some other children were coming to play and catch fishes with some critters.

Kids playing.

Kids playing.

A kid tried to catch a fish.

A kid tried to catch a fish.

The locals here have this unique trick to fish, they don’t use conventional fishing gears, instead they are using a mere nylon cord, with small hook and bait being tied to the end. If some fish takes the bait, they would simply roll the cord around their wrist and pull. I can’t imagine how painful it would be for me.

Although it was fairly hard to reach Lembeh Island (we had to use speedboat and crossing a channel), but it was a wonderful experience with its gorgeous view and the women, who have robust willpower to learn new things.

(Written by Priliscya Isdianti)