Mum: Making the most of it

Since the start of the fasting month my mother has been selling clothing to her friends at her factory. She purchases the clothes from outlets and makes a profit of between 5,000-10,000 Rupiah per item (60 cents to $1.15). From past experience my mother has sold at least 50 pieces. If only she had a bit more start-up capital, I’m sure she could get more clothing to sell. Read more »

Just Scraping By: Everyday life around my home

As a worker on a low wage, sometimes I get scared when I imagine my future. I worry that when I am elderly my own situation won’t be that different from my neighbours. Even in their old age they have to work very hard just to scrape by. Read more »

All about weddings

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I recently attended a friend’s wedding ceremony. The couple come from different ethnic backgrounds, which made this ceremony quite unique. The bride and groom had to change into four different outfits to pay their respects to each of the parents. They wore Sundanese dress (orange), Javanese dress (green), Lampung and Sumatra dress. In this photo the couple wears an Arabic costume and they are reading prayers from al-Qur’ān. Read more »

Independence Day Celebrations

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It has become a custom for Indonesians to commemorate Independence Day by holding competitions. This year the factory also held competitions for the workers inside its grounds. The competitions included panjat pinang (pole climbing) and a singing competition. Read more »

A month of fasting begins

Wednesday was the first day of Ramadan – the Islamic month of fasting. For the next forty days I will fast from dawn till dusk. You may wonder whether fasting affects my ability to concentrate at work. Actually I’ve been doing it since I was young so I don’t have any difficulties; I’m already used to fasting at work. Read more »

Changing the status quo for women workers

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Last year I had the opportunity to join in some leadership training conducted by the NGO Kapal Perempuan. I learnt many new things from the training, but as just one example, something that really impressed on me was the way that we perceive the differences between women and men. It’s not true to say that only men can be described as “providers”. But in the past this is an assumption that I had always accepted. Read more »

United: we stand a chance!

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Today I want to talk a bit about why unions are important for workers like me. I became a member of my union because it pays attention to the situation of workers and their rights, as well as their obligations. I also feel that I’ve been able to learn many things since participating in union activities. For example, I’ve learnt that once the company has made a regulation on our rights it can’t just take those rights away again or erase them. Read more »
Photo: Fernando Moleres/Intermon

Over time or over it?

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English / Bahasa Last week I worked 9 hours overtime. This week on top of overtime I’ll also work a Saturday night shift. I will depart for the factory at 9 in the evening and return home at 6 in the morning, possibly not until 7. Long hours are not out of the ordinary for […] Read more »

Working life

From sportswear factories to domestic work overseas, read Sewani’s accounts of her past employment experiences. Short-term contracts Life as an overseas migrant worker Ups and downs of overseas domestic work Impressions from abroad Back to the factory floor Workplace worries Bitter ironies Short-term contracts After graduating from high school I followed in my mother’s footsteps […] Read more »
Photo: Timothy Herbert/OxfamAUS

In my shoes: Sewani’s story so far

Read the life story of Sewani* , a 24 year old Indonesian footwear worker. You can follow Sewani’s blog here. Photo: OxfamAUS My story so far My name is Sewani.  I am 24-years-old.  I work in a factory producing a famous brand of sports shoes in an industrial district of Indonesia, not far from the […] Read more »