Keeping with Tradition and Caring for the Earth

By Wendy Tamariska, GPOCP Sustainable Livelihoods Manager
This month GPOCP and our artisans were invited to participate in the Harvest Festival of Raya Nusantara, or PARARA, held in Jakarta. This event occurs every two years with the aim to promote locally made products by indigenous tribes and communities from all over Indonesia. There were 27 NGOs and craftsmen represented from throughout Indonesia including Java, Bali, Borneo, and even Papua at the three day event. The theme this year was “Keeping with Tradition and Caring for the Earth”. The festival acted as a common space for producers, consumers, and stakeholders to interact and collaborate on promoting sustainable production and consumption of traditional handicrafts. The festival was a huge success, with nearly 5,000 visitors.
GPOCP was able to support six of our artisans to attend this festival. During the event they gave demonstrations to visitors, news media, and government officials, including the head of creative economic enterprises, and local mayors. Our artisans hail from two of our five artisan groups from the villages of Pangkalan Buton and Sejahtera. We have been working with these groups for the last five years to build their capacity and increase the quality of their products and it is truly paying off. You may recall a previous article highlighting their recent successes, including being able to send their children to university and paying off loans ahead of schedule, all through the sale of their handicrafts.
Pak Triawan Mhunaf, the head of Creative Economic Enterprises, stops by to meet our artisans and learn how they make their handicrafts.
The artisans brought 37 different types of handicrafts, including handbags, bracelets, earrings, and Pandanus (tikar) mats to sell. Over the three day festival they had nearly $300 in sales, a significant amount of money for them.
This trip to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, was a first for all of our artisans and even members of our Sustainable Livelihoods team who accompanied the artisans. Our artisans come from small villages with few modern luxuries and had never seen horizons filled with skyscrapers and highways full of traffic. Ibu Hatimah had never walked on an escalator before. She had a small mishap and fell, but was able to recover without injury and kept her spirits up to explore the big city.
Towards the end of their visit, the group took a day to visit Monas, the National Monument of Indonesia. Both Indonesians and foreign tourists alike flock to this attraction every day. Monas is a source of pride and is a “bucket list” item for Indonesians, especially for people from rural villages.
GPOCP staff and artisans visiting the National Monument, Monas, in Jakarta. Photo credits GPOCP.

Overall this trip to the PARARA Festival was a huge success. Our artisans promoted and sold their handicrafts, received national attention for their sustainable work, and were able to make lasting memories. GPOCP is enthusiastic about this prosperous event and hopes this will motivate and inspire new artisans to work with GPOCP and make sustainable products, helping to create a sustainable livelihood movement in Indonesia!