Local Kartini Earns Livelihood from Batik

As Indonesia celebrates Kartini Day to mark a national hero for her work on women’s rights, we present the story of a group of women who are keeping a local tradition alive, while providing economic opportunities for the community.

Bono batik is the traditional batik (a type of patterned cloth) of Pelalawan district – home to Asia Pacific Rayon’s (APR) operations. PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (PT RAPP), the operational arm of our integrated supplier APRIL Group, set up Rumah Batik Andalan to help local women produce and market this important piece of local heritage.

One of them is Adhe Irmawani, a 37-year-old woman who has been making batik for the past seven years.

“I started making batik with no knowledge of it at all,” she said, adding that she started out because she had free time after taking her children to school.

Every day, Adhe departs at 9.00 am from home to Rumah Batik Andalan, a workshop built by PT RAPP four kilometres from her house.

Together with 10 other local women, Adhe was provided with training and coaching from PT RAPP’s Community Development team. After APR commenced operations, our own Community Development team began to offer additional training on the use of our locally-produced viscose rayon, as well as development of new batik patterns and motifs, and how to use natural dyes.

“From the company’s program, we are able to be creative in making Bono batik, from the original colouring technique to now using natural colour techniques which are much more environmentally friendly and beautiful,” Adhe explained.

APR’s Community Development Programme Coordinator, Metti Haryanti emphasised that the company also introduced viscose fabrics to all batik makers in the surrounding area. “We try to help local batik makers find new creations in their work. We also introduce viscose fabrics that come from their own hometown.”

Viscose fabric has the advantage of maximum colour absorption. The highly absorbent nature of cellulose fibres allows it to pick up dyes very well, producing rich and radiant colours without losing their natural lustre.

“Viscose cloth with natural dyes is one of the most beautiful blends in batik,” Adhe explained as she painted her batik. “Not only because the dye comes from local plants, but the fabric turns out to be made from natural ingredients! We salute that our land can be the source of environmentally friendly raw materials for clothing.”

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As well as supporting local heritage, the batik production also helps the women supplement their family income, providing a better quality of life for them and the community.

APR is committed to gender empowerment and enabling local women to build more inclusive communities in Riau. The company is committed to delivering on a vision of inclusive communities in line with SDG Goal 5 on Gender Empowerment and Goal 10 on Reduced Inequality.

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