Ayu Heni Rosan talks to Edith Emeralda about Citra Kartini Indonesia and its work with women for women and for the environment— all for a better Indonesia
Ten women in Citra Kartini Indonesia unite through diversity for the country
CHATTERING AND COLOURS buzz in the cool air one sunny afternoon as 10 ladies from Citra Kartini Indonesia foundation (CIRI) gather in their finest traditional attire from different provinces in Indonesia. Aceh’s costume, for example, lends a more masculine air by accessorising red baju kurung and cekak musang pants with gold embroidered sarong; meanwhile, Bali’s costume breathes tropical breezes by pairing black floral-patterned kamen cloth and a red kebaya top tied with a big bow.
CIRI aims to empower women and to act on climate change as framed in the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030. Led by Ayu Heni Rosan, the members are Miranti Serad, Darariza Wahid, Santhi Serad, Diah Permatasari, Sheilla Erlangga, Mika Hadi, Hana Fadel, Anggia Benjamin and Ferra Febrianti.
“Thanks to Kartini, Indonesian women now enjoy equal opportunity to freely work, to freely pursue knowledge, and to be themselves,” Ayu says. “CIRI now continues her spirit and work for the betterment of women and a healthier environment.”
Ever since its establishment in early 2017, CIRI has been guided by Dr Nurmala Kartini Sjahrir, advisor for climate change to the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Resources, and Rachmat Witoelar, the President’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, to achieve its climate change agenda.
“We are working together on many green agendas such as mangrove tree planting, which happened on May 15 at Untung Jawa Island,” says Ayu. “Mangrove is also used to create natural dyes for local craftswomen to work and help support their families.”
Furthermore, to help women who own small-to-medium enterprises (SMES), CIRI looks to Triawan Munaf, Head of Indonesia’s Creative Economy Council; Tri Mumpuni from Institut Bisnis dan Ekonomi Kerakyatan, an institute that provides economic aid and renewable energy technology to rural villages; and Putri Kusuma Wardani.
“CIRI has also held coding classes for women in order to help promote their businesses by creating and running online stores and websites,” says Ayu. “They, in turn, can then teach others around them.”
With the shops ready, CIRI’S batik programme to preserve and promote traditional Indonesian cloth will then work in tandem. “We are doing end-to-end training with local craftswomen to revitalise the industry and to support their economic
independence,” Ayu says. CIRI also spreads awareness through events such as the Women Expo bazaar in 2016, and this year’s Kartini day together with Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 50th anniversary centered on women’s harmony in diversity.
Last year’s high-tea event attended by the spouses of 14 ambassadors to Indonesia was also a success with a showcase of different examples of Kudus-style batik and a batik drawing lesson. The same multicultural audience also attended another CIRI event—this time, a cooking demonstration by chefs Mika and Santhi at the centre. “We also want to introduce Indonesia’s rich culinary heritage to other countries besides improving the food products made by local SMES,” Ayu says.
In the end, CIRI’S adviser, Dr Sjahrir, puts it best as to how women and climate change are related. “Both women and nature are marginalised: there’s a tendency to destroy and to be violent to both because they are always an object and never a subject in our society,” she says. Although still a young organisation, with the support of others and the guidance of its mentors, the women in CIRI together strive to achieve a better future for women on a greener Earth.