Thanks to Kopernik, I have been able to return to Lombok frequently to monitor the project we have there. These trips have given me the opportunity to meet and get to know better some incredible women, some of whom I would like to introduce to our blog readers on a series of posts I will be doing for the next month. Their stories deserve to be heard.
It’s not only in hustling and bustling metropolitan settings that one encounters the type of women who can do it all. In the quiet, remote village of Batu Kumbung in West Lombok, Indonesia, Ibu Rukinah also belongs to that special type of women (ibu in Bahasa Indonesia means mother, or in this case, Mrs.).
Ibu Rukinah has been an active member of Pekka in West Nusa Tenggara for 8 years. Before she joined Pekka, she worked in the fields picking fruits such as rambutan, mangostine, and others during harvest seasons. Now she has a small-plot farm where the same fruits are grown and employs other people to do the labor-intensive job. She additionally runs a food kiosk in a high school cafeteria with 2 other women. She has 2 adult sons who now live away from home.
To add to her long list of accomplishments, her Pekka sales team of three women (herself included) has also sold 70 stoves in less than 3 months through Kopernik’s Agents of Technology, Agents of Change program. They earned about USD 40 total in commission. She’s even convinced her food kiosk partners to purchase a Nazava water filter to use for the iced drinks sold to high school students.
Ibu Rukinah at her food kiosk, where a Nazava Bening 1 water filter (right) is now used.
Additionally, she has switched from the traditional brick-and-stone stove to the biomass stove at home, stating that the latter is very cost-effective. She no longer has to purchase or look for kerosene in other villages, as it is becoming increasingly scarce in Lombok. The stove also saves her time because she can leave the stove to cook food while she does other chores, whereas she previously would have to sit in front of the stove, inhaling all the thick smoke produced by the traditional stove, only to keep adding wood to prevent the fire from going out.
Although initially she did not like the additional chore of cutting wood to smaller pieces for using the biomass stove, she said it has gotten easier over time. She now cuts wood only once a week because a little wood goes a long way when cooking with the biomass stove.
Before joining Kopernik’s program with Pekka, she didn’t know that she had the ability to speak in front of groups of people and the talent to sell products to her neighbors. But others immediately picked up on this natural gift of hers, especially during the technology agent training when she gave a terrific sales pitch in front of 40+ people in the room!
Ibu Rukinah is just one of the many wonder women in Indonesia I have met while working in this project. In my next post, you will meet many more of them!