Bibi Dida has been woven fabrics for 29 years since her twenties. She has been selling her fabrics for daily clothes or for traditional ceremonies. The woven fabric, known as kain tenun, plays an important part in the lives of people in NTT. Her income from weaving has become the sole income when her husband passed away in 2004, making her a breadwinner for her two children.
This is the only skills that we know and we need to find ways to market our tenun."Sisilia Francisca Winga or Bibi Dida
Restrictions of social movement and weakening of the economy due to the pandemic have plummeted the sales of tenun as people has shifted their focus on main necessities. However, women in Kampung Adat Nggela, including Bibi Dida, has continued to weave. “This is the only skills that we know and we need to find ways to market our tenun,” said Bibi Dida.
Her resilience in preserving fabric weaving paid off when she joined the training and mentoring programme held by Kami Latu Initiative and Yayasan Rame-Rame Jakarta in the mid of this year. Under the theme ‘Independent with Weaving’, the programme was part of the Employment and Livelihood joint project supported by ILO and several other United Nations (UN) agencies in Indonesia and funded by the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF).
The training, held online in July 2021 and ended with a face-to-face class in mid-August, encouraged Bibi Dida and her fellow woman weavers to learn simple financial management, create weaving patterns for other various products such as accessories and jewelry and present an interesting story about their products to increase sales.
We deeply hope that this programme can empower the women of Kampung Adat Nggela so that they are able to support their family while sustaining a valuable cultural inheritance, such as tenun."Navitri Putri Guillaume, ILO’s Project Officer
“We deeply hope that this programme can empower the women of Kampung Adat Nggela so that they are able to support their family while sustaining a valuable cultural inheritance, such as tenun,” Navitri Putri Guillaume, ILO’s Project Officer, said.
She is now motivated to create new products like earrings and necklace from a high-quality tenun and expand her market using a new network she built during the training. “My new products will be sold at a souvenir shop in a tourism area of Maumere whom I get acquainted during the training,” she beamed with happiness.
Business expansion for building a dream houseThe new entrepreneurial spirit of Bibi Dida was felt by Semaya Atamai, 29 years old, who lives in the capital city of NTT, Kupang with her husband and four children. To get additional income for the family, Semaya sells snacks made from fried waxy corn. Corn is a staple food for people of NTT and corn snacks are popular.
Before the pandemic, she could earn Rp 300,000 (US$21) per day, selling snacks to office buildings near her residence. However, work-from-home policy and movement restriction have made her income fell by 80 percent. Her family has to solely depend on her husband’s salary as an honorary worker of NTT’s National Land Agency (BPN).
“With the loss of our additional income, our dream to buy a land and build our dream also seems to fade away,” shared Semaya who has been staying at one of the BPN’s guest houses.
Through this approach, I only make orders by requests and can maintain quality and freshness of my products and ensure my customers."Semaya Atamai
The training was part of the Employment and Livelihood project, aimed to support youth, women and other vulnerable groups to build and develop their business amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “We believe that by providing opportunities for women and other vulnerable groups to start their own ventures and generate incomes will result in positive outcomes not only for the participants and their families but also the society in the long term,” said Budi Maryono, ILO’s Entrepreneurship Specialist.
We believe that by providing opportunities for women and other vulnerable groups to start their own ventures and generate incomes will result in positive outcomes not only for the participants and their families but also the society in the long term."Budi Maryono, ILO’s Entrepreneurship Specialist
“Through this approach, I only make orders by requests and can maintain quality and freshness of my products and ensure my customers’ satisfaction,” she said.
In addition, she is also able to tap an opportunity to sell her products at a store managed by the NTT’s National Crafts Council (Dekranasda), an organization that helps local businesses promoting local products. This access to a new market has increased her production capacity and income. Thus, she is confident that her entrepreneurial knowledge could help her improving her business and realizing her dream to build a home for her family.
“Based on the information I learnt from Lemlit UKAW’s trainers, I can expand my market to Dekranasda. This makes ma realize that as long as we are able to see and seize a rising opportunity, however small it is, we can get a positive outcome from the current COVID-19 pandemic,” concluded Semaya.