In contrast with the fast-paced of urban life, there are these women and housewives of Gumuk village whose days are mostly spent at home, depending their lives on the minimum earnings of their husbands. The low education level and minimum vocational skills leave them no choice but to surrender to fate. Fortunately, Nila Yuni, who came back home from Jakarta in 2012 took the initiative to break the chain through handicraft making. She gathered some women, taught them to make beautiful cards and books from paper and fabric scraps. The community was named Bilik Kain dan Buku, or Bikabu in short which literally means “the chamber of fabric and book.” Through Nila’s proactive approach, Bikabu then could sell their products by consignment agreement in some local souvenir shops, from where it started to generate inquiries from companies such as Indesso.
“The tight competition of handicraft products in the local market is the biggest challenge for us. It is hard to maintain stable earnings if we have to depend on the consignment only. Thankfully, some companies entrust the production of their cards or souvenirs to us, just like Indesso. This is the second time we make a customized card design for Indesso. The first one was the Eid Mubarak card and now the Season’s Greetings card,” explained Nila. One of the Bikabu members is a teenager of 17 with dwarfism condition. She is only a middle school graduate with a low self-esteem. Nobody wants to hire her for work because of her condition before. But by joining Bikabu, she is now gaining confidence because she can be productive and make earnings for her family. The other member, Mujiyati, a 30 years old mom shared that through the card order from Indesso she could pay her debts.
Indesso features an ornament of a traditional puppet show for the Season’s Greetings card 2017. It is locally called “Gunungan” or mountain, which represents the world and its contents. Gunungan is usually used to mark the beginning of a scene during a puppet show. “This time, about 95% of the card production is handmade, from cutting and coloring the Gunungan to gluing the finished artwork to the printed card,” said Nila.