Jewellery-making opens opportunities for youth in West Java

Youth are hoping the current fashion trend will bring some opportunities for small businesses in jewellery-making.

By Andhika Bhakti for Khabar Southeast Asia in Depok, West Java

October 16, 2013
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For Rahmi Dwiyanti, jewellery-making is a satisfying hobby, especially because she can teach it to others.

  • Restu Maharani (second from left) and neighbours in Bandung, West Java practice making jewellery. Young people are turning to handicrafts like hand-made jewellery as a small business opportunity. [Andhika Bhakti/Khabar]

    Restu Maharani (second from left) and neighbours in Bandung, West Java practice making jewellery. Young people are turning to handicrafts like hand-made jewellery as a small business opportunity. [Andhika Bhakti/Khabar]

For some of her students, it is a small business opportunity, a path to income that can pay for school or help support a family.

The 47-year-old Depok resident works for the Department of Forestry and has been making jewellery in her spare time for about three years. She learned the craft while living in Kuta, Bali and in Pulau Seribu, a chain of islands just north of Jakarta.

Rahmi loves nature. She often uses natural objects in her work: "wood, flowers, seeds, dead corals on the sea shore, stones, and anything else that I think is good," she explains.

The results are beautiful, but she does not intend to sell. For her, introducing art and educating youth in West Java about jewellery-making is an amazing experience.

"I like educating others. I am more interested in introducing my skills to others, especially to the youth around my neighborhood who are interested in looking at opportunities for entrepreneurship.

"I taught a few classes in madrassas and state elementary schools around Depok and Tangerang, mostly for talent building and informal sessions," added Rahmi, who has a degree in education.

Little by little, Rahmi is influencing her community. She teaches young people and housewives in the Depok area so they can make additional income to support their family.

"Rahmi has been teaching me how to make jewellery since 2010. Since then, I have spent most of my holidays making jewellery," Utami Satyani, a 21 year-old student at Padjajaran University in Bandung, West Java, told Khabar Southeast Asia. "I sell them at the Ambassador Mall in Central Jakarta. And it becomes my business now. I usually make around 500 items [per month] including bracelets, earrings, and necklaces."

Utami said that with her small business, each month she can make approximately $500 after taxes. "It is a pretty good start," she said.

One day, she would like to use her profits to pay for graduate school in business.

"I want to study in business school. But it is very expensive. As for now, this is my learning process in real business, and I will use the money to study in business school someday," Utami said.

Restu Maharani, a 22-year-old Bandung resident, is also learning the craft from Rahmi.

"I like to do it, and I think it is a good hobby. I am thinking to sell them someday. However, since I just started, I need more time. I need to improve my skills," Restu told Khabar.

A local cleric in Depok, Agus Dahlan, applauds Rahmi's effort in educating youth and women about jewellery making. He said it is also Rahmi's jihad for Islam.

"She is a good example for citizens. For Muslims, that is real jihad, fighting to do good deeds… More importantly, Islam encourages us to educate others as well," Agus explained.

Kodrat Wibowo, an economics professor at Padjajaran University, said local entrepreneurs are very important for economic growth and Indonesia's future.

"Learning an experience from Europe, we (Indonesia) should avoid external debt and continue to boost the local economy. We also need to ensure tax payers do their responsibility to pay taxes. As of now, we only have 20 percent of the population paying taxes," he told Khabar.

"We need more people like Rahmi who are educating others, and Utami, who is using the knowledge she learns," Agus said.

Reader Comments
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    • Helena
      October 17, 2013 @ 05:10:56AM
    • In actuality, Indonesia has many creative people who are willing to work hard. Many among them have successfully established businesses without being a burden to the government. Through their own efforts they run good businesses in times of crisis and ordinary times. It is no wonder that in times of crisis it is these Indonesians who save the nation's economy. They accumulate their own capital, develop their skills on their own, and the same for their marketing. When the rupiah exchange rate weakens, they have no reason to worry, unlike big businesses that enjoy government credit. It is these big businesses that create economic instability when the rupiah is in crisis. These small businesses should be empowered further because job opportunities are becoming rare.

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