Indonesia: Blooming in Fair Trade
Read two stories of women sharing their personal experience growing in a Fair Trade environment.
“I am Hani, mother of two children. I graduated from a law school at Udayana University, Bali Indonesia in 1986. I was a former financial manager of a bank in Bali.
“In 2004, I joined Mitra Bali Fair Trade to support the company. At the beginning it was difficult because Fair Trade is very much different from a conventional company.
“Corporate businesses have clear job descriptions and clear responsibilities, all procedures are available and should be followed. Conventional businesses have specific objectives, and they do not pay so much attention to environmental, social, political and gender equity issues. All energies are focused in generating profit for the company.
“Working for Mitra Bali was a big change for me. Its operations are based on Fair Trade principles. I was learning and slowly beginning to understand the vision and the mission, and finally I agreed, respect and liked it. Fair Trade means working for a better future of the staff, artisans and the planet. This is very important for me, I know it is not easy but it is good to try and keep on trying.
“If we look around us there are so many people living in poverty, especially women. I will always give support and priority to women, because women have a triple burden: to look after the children, tend the domestic life, and get income for the family. In Balinese traditional society, women are still second class citizens, that’s why I have to do something for fellow women.
“That is the reason why I like and I respect Fair Trade principles. In another words, Fair Trade is a good tool to empower women, I do not see any good alternative other than Fair Trade, and being a fair trader is being an agent for change and for gender equity. It will be good for the people, the planet and the children.”
Ni Ketut Warkini
Ni Ketut Warkini, has been working for Mitra Bali for 21 years. She joined the organization when she was 28.
She was born in a peasant family in Kubutambahan, a village in the northern part of Bali, Indonesia. Her parents did not allow her to continue her formal studies because she was a girl, so they sent her to a sewing school in the city of Singaraja. She learned saewing for one year, then she moved to Denpasar City to get job. There she married and had four children.
“I am proud to be part of Mitra Bali’s team. It is difficult being a woman in Bali because I am in in a society of strong patriarchal tradition. Even at my home village they treated me differently. When I married and moved in with my husband family, they also treated me differently, so I accepted that as a general custom.
“However since I started working at Mitra Bali, I came to hear about gender equality through several activities organized by the company. This helped me realise, and thus I began to acknowledge and to understand the power of being a woman. Anyone should respect women, because women can do things just as men.
“Mitra Bali is not only a place of work for steady income, but also a place for me to develop myself, my horizon. It is a place where I can speak up, and the most important thing I am happy that I can treat my children with equality. Fair Trade is really fostering my personal development.”