Stories of Change

Mama Adela at work.

Weaving a brighter future for Adela and her family

Adela Missa, a 26-year-old mother of one, lives in a small village in West Timor, Indonesia. About five years ago, Adela decided weave shawls and blankets to sell and add to her family’s income. Unfortunately, she was not as successful as she hoped.

This was mostly because she did not understand pricing for value. If she couldn’t sell her textiles, she would discount them on slower days just to make a sale – even at a loss. With increasing yarn prices and the amount of time it took to make just one item, Adela admitted, “I was having a hard time making enough money to feel like the work was worth it.”

In November 2017, Adela and a few women farmers in her village, joined the CWS Berdaya – empowerment – initiative. One of the program’s focuses is supporting women to build their businesses wisely so then can increase their earnings. Earlier this year, Adela heard about the support Berdaya offers to develop businesses, so she joined skill-building sessions. She learned to dye yarn naturally and add text into her weaving, so that she had higher-quality, higher-value goods to sell. To improve her bottom line, she learned basic business management, including finances and marketing.

With her new knowledge, Adela went home and straight to producing naturally died yarn. When she finished her first scarf, she was nervous as she took it to the market to sell. To her surprise, she sold the scarf for double what she made on her old synthetic yarn weaving. While at the market, Adela was able to compare her work to others. “I am the only one in my village who knows how to naturally dye yarn. People see the difference in quality and prefer to spend more for my quality work,” she told CWS staff.

Berdaya was designed to empower women economically, and CWS is pleased to see that it has done just that. By diversifying her product, Adela shares that she is able to bring in, on average, an additional $21 each month. She shows us that knowledge and skills are empowering women throughout West Timor.