Community Empowerment; Walk the Talk

Sartika (40) was attending the dissemination of the sponsorship program at Lembang Village Hall when she had a small talk with a community development facilitator of Enrekang CDP about crops in her village. Her youngest son (4) is selected as one of Gugah Nurani Indonesia's sponsored children. During the talk, she raised a problem about the low price of some crops like chilies and herbs. “Sometimes, the crops were valued too low, so we preferred abandoning them than selling them to the market. It is not worth spending money and effort to go to the market for a low price,” she said.
Responding to the problem, Gugah Nurani Indonesia empowered her to process the crops into products because it would benefit more. Being inspired and encouraged, she gave herself a try. She took a course on food processing facilitated by Gugah Nurani Indonesia and made several trials. After the trials yielded good products worth selling, she began producing herb powders, including white ginger and turmeric powder. She bought herbs from her neighbors, favorably selling theirs for the same price as the market. 
Soon she persuaded her neighbors to join. With five women of her neighbor, she founded a business group named after their sub-village: joint venture group, KUB Datte. The group developed to produce more herb powder from red ginger, lemongrass, and galangal. They also produced chili powder. Sartika joined more courses, like design and packaging, and bookkeeping, to support business development.
Regarding product marketing, the products are sold by word of mouth to friends and relatives outside their village. Some products are sold to Etika Cooperative members too. They also sell their products through social media and online shopping platforms to reach more customers; among them are former neighbors living in Kalimantan and Papua who know the product from social media. “They are proud of our village because of the quality of the products,” she explained.

Challenging herself, she has been thinking about developing a new product. After consultation, she decided to produce chili sauce. Again, facilitated by Gugah Nurani Indonesia, she took a course to produce and pack chili sauce in a way that lasts longer without preservatives. She made chili sauces and packed them in glass bottles. It turned out that the chili sauces were sold out because of their excellent taste. “I am so happy that people like the chili sauce,” she smiled.
Income generated from chili sauce and herb powder has benefited her family. “3 of my 4 children are in college, high school, and junior school. The extra income that I get from the business supports their education needs. That’s very helpful,” she said. Her family supports her. Her husband and children help her any time they have time. “My husband is so enthusiastic. He wants to know what else we can create. So are my children. They will ask why if I produce nothing," she laughed.
A small talk she walked has brought her to the point she is now.  “Without Gugah Nurani Indonesia, I would never know any kind of herb processing, design and packaging, and book keeping, neither had small business that benefits my family,” she said. It turns out that her business also benefits her neighbors. “They previously abandoned their crops when the price was low. But now since they can sell the crops to us, they become enthusiastic growing their crops," she explained.
Sartika has proved that by willingness to try and working hard, she can make a change for her family and neighbors.

Written by:
Agustina Satdewi
Board Secretary of Gugah Nurani Indonesia

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