We currently managed several programmes, divided into several small achievable projects. Our projects are 100% grassroots, run and managed by committed, unpaid volunteers.
The spectacles programme – A pair of glasses to see a better future
Most of us know that when we get to certain age, our vision deteriorates particularly when our eyes used constantly for some repetitive activities which resulted in tired and strained eyes. We often struggle to see what we want to see, and this frustrates us. For some lucky people like us, the solution is easy, we buy reading glasses and just get on with life.
However, for thousands of senior workers in developing countries, they may never find solution to their problems. A large number of these senior workers come from very unprivileged background and don’t have the luxury to stop working when they get to their retirement age and for most the word “retire” does not exist in their lives. They may find it extremely hard to work with vision impairment, but life goes on, they will continue to work, straining and screwing up their eyes, until they no longer use them.
In 2012, we started looking at Indonesian traditional textiles’ productions closely and we were extremely alarmed by the sheer problems affecting production sustainability of these amazing textiles. Most of the artisans who made these textiles were senior women, usually from fairly poor background. We realised that once these senior artisans found that their eyes no longer function properly, they will give up working, particularly those who work in the weaving industry. We also realised that young people don’t show the desire to continue this type of work, as weaving is perceived to be menial work and only to be done by uneducated poor people living in remote villages. Whilst the struggle continues, we came up with some solution to help experience weavers to remain working by donating reading glasses to help them stay in work longer and to work more efficiently.
We are fully aware of our limitation and financial capability to fund this programme, but our strong determination and desire to succeed our mission and our vision, we are proud to have achieved far beyond our expectation. So far, we have distributed thousands of reading glasses, reaching senior textiles artisans in Lombok, Sulawesi, Flores, Timor, Sumba, Lembata and Adonara, Rote & Java.
We are making a great progress and we will continue to donate glasses for as long as we can. We are very passionate about this simple life changing opportunity, and are very grateful for the support we have received from those who have donated towards this programme.
In just about any home, one can find a pair of reading glasses that are no longer being used and we believe that same pair of eyeglasses can change another person’s life. Help us to succeed this mission, please donate your unwanted glasses, or you can also donate new glasses. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how to get involved. Thank you.
The Natural Dye Programme – Bringing back the forgotten colours
This programme is driven by our love for naturally dyed ikat and batik and our focus on sustainability issues during their productions. We believe that natural dyes are friendly and adequate and pleasing to use and we can find a huge varieties of natural dye materials available in Indonesia today. In the past, natural dyes were the only source of colour available for textile dying in Indonesia, and it was still widely used right up the 1970’s, until synthetic dyes started to invade weaving and batik regions, providing quick solution to textile dying speedy production.
In addition to environmental issues, we are very extremely concerned on the artisans’ health issues surround the use of chemical dyes. Over many years of witnessing the artisans worked with synthetic dyes, we are truly concerned for their lack of knowledge on how to manage the dyeing processes safely and how to handle the dyes waste sufficiently. Most dyers are not fully aware of the danger of direct exposure to chemical from synthetic dyes and are often handling the substance without proper equipment. The waste from the dyeing processes are usually thrown into an open sewer system, which later end up in the local rivers.
There will be several small projects created within this programme, where we work directly with the artisans, making the most of natural dye materials from around Indonesia. Our projects ranging from creating natural dye gardens and encouraging the artisans to produce natural dyes from these gardens.
We have seen a few major campaigns in Indonesia for the use of natural dyes, where regular natural dye workshops are organised by local charities and campaigners, however, the artisans often don’t feel inspired and enthused to take up natural dyeing due to difficulties in finding sufficient dye materials.
We hope with our small natural dye projects we can inject some passion and commitment to artisans, providing them with long term access to materials, hands-on natural dyeing processes and educational support when needed to further understand these processes. We will also provide marketing support for the textiles produced in this way.