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.