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Meet the Ibu | Lilik

Meet the women who make your clothes so meaningful! Through education and access to a living wage, your #MadeRight clothes are changing lives in villages across Indonesia. In this interview, I speak to Ibu Lilik, one of the artisans who craft your Seribu Bunga pieces.

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Denica (D): Hi bu Lilik! How are you :)?

Lilik (L): Afternoon mba Den :) Alhamdulillah, I am good and healthy :)

Siang Mbak Den, Alhmadulillah kabar baik dan sehat selalu mbak ….

D: Bu Lilik, can you share about being a Batik artisan? When did you start learning it?

L: I've been a Batik artisan for more than 20 years now! I first learnt when I finished high school from my mother and grandmother. All the women in my family are artisans, and my hope has always been to continue this tradition.

Saya sudah membatik sejak duduk di Sekolah Menengah Atas sekitar usia 18 tahun, jadi sudah sekitar 20 tahunan lebih. Awal membatik dulu diajari oleh ibu dan nenek, karena keluarga saya memang dari keluarga pembatik, sehingga dulu saya juga tertarik untuk belajar membatik dan berharap bisa melanjutkan karya mereka.

D: Can you share about the situation in your village since Covid lockdowns? Have your family been impacted in any way?

L: Since Covid, a lot of people lost their jobs. My husband is a truck driver and he hasn't been able to get any work since last year. It's really difficult for us to cover our daily expenses. In the beginning, I didn't know what we will do and I was really scared. Would SukkhaCitta close too? I'm so grateful that it didn't and I can continue to Batik from home. It has made all the difference to my family. Without it, I wouldn't be able to pay for my children's school fees.

Sejak ada Covid, banyak orang yang kehilangan pekerjaannya, sehingga untuk memenuhi kebutuhan sehari-hari pun kita semua kesusahan. Bahkan suami saya yang seorang supir juga terkena dampaknya. Sedangkan kita butuh untuk biaya sehari-hari. Saya takut sekali kalau sampai SukkhaCitta tutup ini gimana. Untung nya program jalan terus dan saya masih bisa membatik dari rumah. Karena tanpa ini, saya tidak bisa bayar uang sekolah anak-anak.



Sustainable Batik Handmade

D: It was a really scary time for me too, it still is :( But I'm so happy we can continue to stand with you until today. And we couldn't have done this without our community, is there something you'd like to say to them?

L: I was making Seribu Bunga during the lockdowns. It's my favorite. Everytime I draw it, I feel happy and proud because this motif is originally from my village. I hope that you will remember this whenever you wear it. And please, don't forget us. The ones who made it.

Saya ketika membatik Seribu Bunga meski Covid, ada rasa senang dan bangga tersendiri karena saya bisa membatik motif asli dari desa saya, dan semoga dengan memakai motif seribu bunga ini bisa terus mengingat desa kami dan juga kami, perajin batiknya.


D: Bu Lilik, you once told me that your chest hurt a lot whenever you dyed with synthetic dye. Now that your fabrics are 100% naturally-dyed, do you feel any difference?

L: Yes, that happened every time I dyed. Not only my chest hurt from inhaling it, my hands burn too. But we didn't know any other alternative. If we don't use it, we get no income. Through the [SukkhaCitta's] trainings, we now dye with plants. Our husbands even help us forage the woods! Not only does it no longer hurt, I'm happy knowing that our fabrics no longer damage the environment.

Iya, dulu saat kita memakai warna sintesis itu dada langsung terasa sakit. Tapi ya saya ndak mengerti dampaknya. Kalau ndak ngewarna gitu, dapat uang darimana? Tapi sekarang sejak sering latihan di Rumah SukkhaCitta untuk pakai warna alam, kita bebas karena dada tidak terasa sakit, tangan tidak terasa perih. Selain tidak sakit, saya bahagia sekali rasanya bisa buat Batik sambil merawat Alam.

D: I can't believe that it's been a year since you were in Jakarta for t'angan!!! Has there been any change in your life since?

L: I miss it so much! I remember the first night we all drove around, I was looking up from the car at all the tall buildings. Meeting pak Yo-Yo Ma and all the kind people during the exhibition was so special. I am just from a village, but I felt valued. Like I matter. I will never forget that for the rest of my life. I hope that we can all come again after Corona to see all the kind people.

Ya, saya juga kangen sekali, dan ingin kesana lagi untuk muter-muter Jakarta. Saya merasa bahagia dan bangga bisa bertemu dengan pak Yo Yo Ma, dan juga dengan orang-orang hebat yang baik hati pas di Jakarta dulu. Saya juga merasa bangga karena dari membatik saya punya pengalaman yang bisa saya kenang seumur hidup saya, sekarang saya lebih bersemangat lagi untuk membatik, semoga nanti bisa diundang lagi untuk bertemu orang-orang baik hati.


Yo-Yo Ma Supports Women Empowerment

D: Lastly, I wanna hear about your hopes and dreams, bu :) 

L: I have been an artisan for more than 20 years, but I never knew how to price my fabric. When mbak Denica first came, we were taught to break down the time it took us to finish a fabric. For months, we learnt how to calculate. For each fabric, we timed our work. We jotted down how much we need to cover our living costs. My children's school fees. Healthcare. What I need to save for their higher education.

I never did this before. I was shocked to see that all my life, my fabrics were paid at a loss. No wonder how difficult it was to make ends meet. That's why I hope that SukkhaCitta can continue the program in my village. I hope that more women can experience what I experienced.

Saya sudah ngebatik 20 tahun, tapi ya baru sekarang saya bisa menghitung harga kain saya pantasnya berapa. Masih ingat pas mbak Denica awalnya kesini, kelompok kita diminta menghitung waktu pengerjaan sampai selesai. Berbulan-bulan kita begitu, satu-satu kain dicatat. Kita juga diajar menghitung biaya keperluan keluarga sehari-hari. Uang anak sekolah. Biaya berobat. Dan juga menabung untuk masa depan anak-anak.

Setelah menghitung seperti ini, baru saya sadar ya Tuhan... seama ini kain saya itu dijual rugi. Pantes kami hidup susah. Harapan saya, program SukkhaCitta bisa lanjut terus. Supaya lebih banyak Ibu bisa mengalami apa yang saya alami.
 

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The interview ended with a hug and a Turmeric jamu [herbal drink] made by Ibu Lilik.