Sunday, May 25, 2008

Products after TSUNAMI in Indonesia

AMI is the brand name given to small-scale business products manufactured by community groups living in coastal villages of North Sumatra badly affected by December 2004 tsunami. For generation, collecting shrimps, fish and oysters has provided income to the coastal communities. This way of life was severely altered after the disaster, which left many families helpless after ecosystems supporting them were destroyed.

The creation of AMI Products was facilitated by local foundation, YAGASU (Yayasan Gajah Sumatra). This Foundation committed to species and forests conservation, environmental restoration and community development. After the tsunami, YAGASU focused on the rehabilitation of coastal ecosystem along the East coast of Northern Sumatra and on helping in inhabitants to achieve a-long-term and environment-friendly sustainable development.

Within the so-called “Coastal Carbon Corridor” stretching along 670 km from Banda Aceh to Pantai Labu, and with support from NGOs (PLANETE URGENCE, ISLAMIC RELIEF, MUSLIM AID), private companies (NEWMONT), international and national governmental institutions (BRR NAD-Nias, UNESCO) and many other donor fundings, YAGASU has provided the local communities with small business training, production process, marketing and product promotions. Since its induction, AMI has fast expanded and now contributes to the livelihood improvement of hundreds of villagers.

Some specific objectives of AMI products are give a prominent economic role to women in the community, and to bring the villagers to interact with each other. It also improves the confidence and sense of responsibility of everyone involved. With the tsunami, many women have seen their family destroyed with the loss of their husbands and children. Psychological reconstruction is also important : “When I am home, I am alone, when I came to work, I have friends.” says Minda, an employee of AMI Products.

AMI products consist of traditional handcrafts, homemade food processing, chocolates, a wide variety of coconut products, traditional designs of garment and embordery, and meubelair available for sale of at the AMI Products stores in the Banda Aceh airport, in Medan, in Jakarta and several supermarkets.

Two AMI Galleries, one in Jakarta and one in Bali have been established, providing extra jobs as well as a very good opportunity for the local communities to demonstrate their skills to a broader audience. The AMI Gallery will specialize in high quality handicrafts and garments, and will provide space for the exhibition art and music.

Thanks to funding from the NEWMONT company, the Community Learning Center in Kampung Jawa, Banda Aceh, is having its grand opening in May 2008. This Center will house the manufacturing and packaging handicrafts, traditional design of garments and food products, as well as training courses. Training courses will be provided to other communities in natural disaster affected areas, to gain skill in handicrafts creation and food production.

Creation People and photos by Asli Made in Indonesia

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