YCAB Foundation’s spirit of empowering youth and uplifting MSMEs in Indonesia has never been dimmed despite the drastic change that happened in the year 2020. The quest of bringing impact is a continuum which YCAB Foundation holds dear and continues to portray even amidst the pandemic.
Indonesian batik has been internationally recognized as a historical fabric of human civilization ever since it was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2009. Apart from being a cultural campaign, batik exports have also contributed to national economic growth. Data from the Ministry of Industry in 2020 recorded the export value of batik reaching more than 532,7 Million US dollars and during the first quarter of 2021, reached the amount of 157,8 Million US dollars.
Meet Agung Prasetyo, success story of Rumah Belajar Batik Pekalongan, who shortly became a laborer in a scarf-making company to make ends meet for his family after he graduated with his Paket C, equivalent to senior high school diploma.
“What is destined will reach you, even if it is beneath two mountains.” — This saying perfectly coincides with what happened to Agung. While living in a city famous for its Pesisir batik production and Agung was already familiar with batik since childhood, Agung was initially uninterested in exploring the worlds of batik making.
YCAB Foundation aims to contribute more to producing skilled and self-sufficient youths from Rumah Belajar, at the same time, preserving the cultural heritage of Indonesia.
“One day, I met Pak Pur on the street. At that time, Pak Pur was looking for students to learn to make batik. Then, he invited me to join Rumah Belajar Batik,” Agung said. Little did he know, his rendezvous with Pak Pur that day was a life-changing moment for Agung.
At first, his mother did not agree if Agung had to go back to school, leaving his job, leaving the family with less income. “When I stopped working, I could no longer provide for my family. It was not much, but I always gave my parents some money every week. For every score of scarves (20), I earned eight thousand rupiahs and I could finish at most 4-5 scores per day.” he added.
Despite his mother’s objections, Agung persisted and continued his journey in the batik universe. “I wanted to be able to produce batik because I aspire to be a successful batik entrepreneur.” Said Agung sincerely.
When all is said and done, his batik products began to make a name of their own and attracted many batik connoisseurs in Indonesia. Agung has 20 employees under his wings, the majority of whom are his friends and neighbors, making his manifestations come to life, to provide sustainable benefits and empower his community from the results of his efforts.
This year, YCAB Foundation’s work echoed to Tasikmalaya, where Rumah Belajar Tasikmalaya was born with the support of HSBC to tackle the city’s high unemployment and drop-out rate. Looking at the urgency in Tasikmalaya, West Java, the majority of marginalized youths prefer working as factory workers instead of pursuing careers in the arts. Rumah Belajar Batik Tasikmalaya aims to empower 3,000 young individuals from marginal communities with sewing, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy skills in addition to learning the batik craft.
Rumah Belajar Tasikmalaya is now open and later on, its graduates are hoped to have sustainable economic growth and possibly create job fields to ensure a healthy economic cycle in Tasikmalaya, West Java.