The emancipation of women has been extensively recognised as a central goal in international development, in an interview with Fitria Werdiningsih from House of Lawe, we can see just one example of how the empowerment of women through financial liberty is aiding the goal of international development.
House of Lawe is a community social enterprise based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, that transform traditional hand-woven fabrics into functional products while aiming to contribute to the empowerment of women. All products are designed and produced in traditional Indonesian hand-woven fabrics, and sold both locally and internationally in the US and Japan. Not only are products sold for income, but House of Lawe also has a “Craft Class” initiative, which, is used as a learning centre for developing traditional hand-woven handicrafts.
While it is not a new phenomenon for women in Indonesia to contribute financially to their households, House of Lawe “aims to encourage more women to do so” (Werdiningsih, F. 2016, pers. Comm., 6 April). The workshops are aimed at “empowering women, by encouraging them to, and giving them the means to earn their own income” (Werdiningsih, F. 2016, pers. Comm., 6 April). By these processes, the women who are involved in House of Lawe, are able to contribute to their households financially, substantially improving the household nutrition and raising aspirations for their children’s education.
The conservation of traditional techniques is something that House of Lawe holds as very important to them. While they use new fabrics to create their products, they are also an environmentally conscious enterprise and aim to put measures in place to counteract their environmental impact of their products. One method in which they do this is through the craft classes they run. It is through these craft classes that they aim to teach to the participants the importance of recycling; to do this, their very first crafting module is ‘How to use leftover fabric in order to create economic value’. In this module, they use left over fabrics to make patchwork toys.
House of Lawe have two separate areas they dwell in – business and social. In terms of business, House of Lawe sources “ Lurik”, a traditional Javanese hand-woven fabric; this fabric is traditionally used only for clothing and traditional ceremonies, however, House of Lawe aim to promote the development of Lurik in order to surpass traditional uses and branch out into fashion accessories such as bags, wallets, pouches, home décor and even company merchandise. In regard to their social relationship, House of Lawe “work with local communities, sharing [their] knowledge of industry, business and handicrafts in order to elevate women. [They] share technical, marketing, and entrepreneurial skills.” (Werdiningsih, F. 2016, pers. Comm., 6 April)
House of Lawe 2015, Our Work 3, viewed 6 April 2016. http://www.houseoflawe.com/portfolio/craft-class/
House of Lawe 2015, Conserving Tradition, Empowering Women, viewed 6 April 2016, http://www.houseoflawe.com/
Indonesia-Product.com 2016, Tracing the History of Lurik Fabric, viewed 7 April 2016, http://indonesia-product.com/forum/index.php?topic=2540.0