Stitching together a community business

Having a flair for sewing, Tusharyati saw an opportunity-first for her and then for her neighbors.

“I am a housewife who believed that I could improve my family income through my creativity, and therefore I opened my own sewing and tailoring business,” she said. “Then I wanted to expand my business by employing local housewives because these women are the ones with less adequate income. In other words, I wanted to help these women by creating job opportunities.”

Though job opportunities for women are often hard to come by in rural Indonesia, the PT Lontar Papyrus Pulp & Paper Industries (Lontar Papyrus) in Tebing Tinggi was ready to help Tusharyati.

“After several business planning meetings, Lontar Papyrus offered a partnership opportunity for us by providing a soft business loan,” Tusharyati said. “We used the money to establish a company name Karya Kencana which has now been running for about five years.”

Standing outside the main road to the paper mill near the Karya Kencana storefront where employees were busy assembling uniforms for mill workers and students in the Tebing Tinggi area, Putra Hadi, Corporate Social Responsibility Project Manager at Lontar Papyrus, said his company is proud of the small business’ continued success.

“Our goal is to raise the community up to become economically stable, and that’s why we help develop local business groups like this sewing company,” he said. “These people already have sewing skills and need the opportunity to develop those skills. So we try to improve their conditions by providing ongoing support, and in turn, we hope they will gain a sense of business independence.”

Mission accomplished, according to one of Karya Kencana employees, Juniati.

“Before this job, I was an ordinary housewife with a passion for sewing,” she said. “I joined this group to learn more about sewing. And now after I joined this company, I can sew my own clothes and repair my family’s torn clothes without paying someone else to do the job for me."

Juniati said she is especially grateful to have gotten the opportunity to sew school uniforms for elementary students in Tebing Tinggi and says "through this program, I now have additional income for my family's needs.”

17.11.2017 | Liz W.
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