Arum Sari, Bali
In the year 2000 I Wayan Ngicen ended his communication with Pekerti, after 15 years of working with the organisation. Orders were inconsistent and the connection was not benefiting him as much as he had hoped when he gave up his job as a farmer in 1985. Farming had proved in the past not to be financially sustainable, with Pak Ngicen tending a small area of land, on which he grew cocoa beans and also made an extra profit from the coconut trees there. But as his parents had been farmers all their lives he decided to try his luck again, bought a cow and found he could get by.
Pak Ngicen was still getting by when, in 2004, Pekerti held a World Fair Trade Day event in Bali, and, disappointed by their loss of contact, approached him with a couple of suggestions to make Fair Trade more sustainable for him. As he had, until then, been working alone, Pekerti suggested he include his younger sister and his adult daughter in his business, making use of their skills and allowing his family to profit. And he could use the internet to make communication with the organisation easier. Pekerti promised to work with Pak Ngicen to implement these changes if he would consider them working together again. Soon enough, Pak Ngicen was too busy with orders to take care of his cow, and was glad to give it away.
Pak Ngicen’s skills have evolved from bone carving in the 1980s to working with wood, silver and shell today. One of his favourite motifs represents surf waves, a design distinctly Balinese, on jewellery and hair accessories. His group, Arum Sari, works wholly with natural materials including sono and mahogany wood, which is purchased from a property owned by a neighbour in Tampaksiring. Arum Sari represents the scent of a flower, and was chosen by Pak Ngicen, again with Balinese culture in mind.
Today, Pak Ngicen has expanded Pekerti’s suggestion to involve three families in his business, and his increased efforts have certainly reaped rewards. Daughter Komang Dama was given the opportunity to attend university at Ikip Pgn in Denpasar, a school specifically for training teachers. Now 25, she is a kindergarten teacher. Pak Ngicen explains this as one of the benefits he has found from having received constant orders from Pekerti since 2004, and he hopes that they will continue well into the future.