By Suryandaru, Advokat Disabilitas, Pertuni Jawa Tengah

06 October 2021 - 19:34

A picture of character piggy banks from small to medium size, shaped like Doraemon and Hello Kitty.
Image description: A picture of character piggy banks from small to medium size, shaped like Doraemon and Hello Kitty. ©

Documentation Apri Suhartanto

Apri Suhartanto  is the  name  of  a young man from  Purwokerto  City,  Banyumas  Regency,  Central Java  Province.  This young  man  never    dreamed of  becoming a disability  as well as  a  mobilizer  for his community  through the craft of character celengan.

As conveyed  to  jurnalis,  Apri,  his familiar  greeting,  was  originally  an  employee  of  Bank Rakyat Indonesia(BRI) Syariah  Banyumas Regency  Branch.    In 2013, he suffered  an accident  and had  his left  leg  amputated   above the knee.

The office where  the Banyumas youth work was accommodating  to the disability co-workers who has been happened to their employees. Apri,  who  previously  held  a position as a  credit analyst, was  mutated   to  the  administration.  The consideration is that the new position does not  demand  over mobility even both outside  and   inside  the  office. Therefore,     allowing people with  physical  disabilities to continue to work well.

The move from  the  teknik part to  the support  is not  too  difficult  for the figure  who later became one of the disability  activists in  Central Java Province.  The wish of one of the government Islamic bank was not in  vain,  because the figure of employees with disabilities  who were the only at that time in the BRI Syariah managed to show its proud performance.  The  award  given to Apri is called  "The Best Support" in 2017. Sure, this is not unexpected because the company recognizes the existence and work performance of one of the employees who is also disabled. 

In his office, work atmosphere has supported work performance, unfortunately  has not been balanced by adequate accessibility.  There were    stairs  connecting the lower  and upper floors, and the lack of reasonable accommodation namely ramps, elevators, or lift.  Therefore, the youth who   born in 1981 should go up and down through the stairs doing mobility  during his activities in the office. 

Impact of his over-workload at  the end and  beginning  of each  months, his left leg was swelling, making it  difficult to use prosthetic legs.  Although the swelling will subside when the activities up and down the stairs  reduced  after overtime has hovered, but suffering every overtime each month, urged Apri to resign from his workplace. Finally,  despite has been called  "The Best Support", in 2020  employees  with  disabilities  who  passionately  work in inclusion determined to resign.  

On the other hand, desiring to develop his community  lead Apri  to  join    a disability organization called “Persatuan Penyandang Disabilitas  Indonesia” (PPDI) Banyumas Regency since 2015. His partiality to his community,  reaped  the trust of members of PPDI Banyumas Regency. Next, this inspiring figure in 2018 was elected as a leader. Furthermore,     partnership to various entities has been done in order to open  opportunities for people with disabilities in Banyumas  Regency  to acquire  skills  and  knowledge. To illustrate, the micro business training supported by Jateng Bank and Sudirman University provided training craft to make plate from “lidi” (stick). Based on the partnership activities  introduced  Apri    to a person with disabilities from Kebumen Regency, who had a capability in craft especially making character piggy bank.  It was the commencing of training character piggy banks for people with disabilities in Banyumas Regency.

Several rows of character piggy banks that haven't been painted yet.
Image description: Several rows of character piggy banks that haven't been painted yet.  ©

Documentation Apri Suhartanto

A picture of a crafter who is making a floor matt from patchwork at Usaha Berkah Mandiri, using a sewing machine.
Image description: A picture of a crafter who is making a floor matt from patchwork at Usaha Berkah Mandiri, using a sewing machine.  ©

Documentation Usaha Berkah Mandiri

Supported by the Regencies Agency of Manpower, Cooperatives, and Micro-Business, amount of 20 people with physical  disabilities in Banyumas Regency participated in training in the manufacture of character piggy banks. Gipsum was used as material in the training and cartoon characters that were used as models such as Doraemon,  Hello Kitty, and etc. 

According to Apri, this training was different from previously that tough skills for people with disabilities making doormats that lack selling value. Likely, the training gives positive impact to the craftsmen, namely increasing their income and self-confidence. In addition, public  perception was also becoming more positive, because disability persons were no  longer appear as a group that needs to be pitied. Besides that, advocacy  activity was also appearing to be noticed by the government. For instance,  accessibility needs, in office of court in Purwokerto city tried to accept      the input from people with disabilities.  

In order to support the success of the training, it is also essential to pay attention on the marketing of the products and dissemination activities.  The marketing side was fully supported by former employees of BRI Syariah through its extensive friendship network.  Apri  often  sends photos   of piggy bank handicrafts to his friends through the Whats App application to all his colleagues. Thankfully, they responded positively by buying and purchasing it over and over again so as to show consumers were satisfied  with the product. 

Dissemination of the training was done through Instagram account of Apri @aprisuhar1.   This socialization step successfully informs the good work of people with disabilities in Banyumas Regency. As a result, the network of cooperation to support training and marketing was expanding.

When asked about constraints from non-disability society, this young driving figure replied that there were no obstacles. The market  accepts all  handicraft products without asking the maker of disabilities or not.  Because they only consider about quality of the products and the products full fill their needs. Regencies and provincial governments also support the progress of people with disability. Yet, “PT Kereta Api Indonesia” (Indonesia Train Corporation) supported by giving Corporate Social Responsibility a  car that was essential to support mobility.

The obstacles mostly come from people with disabilities itself. Craft were      made with regardless the quality of manufacture  and  painting. In addition,    the working time is less concerned with  the deadline from consumers. To illustrate, there are currently orders as many as 50 piggy  banks,  but the amount do not reach the requirement.  

That is the reasons, marketing of piggy bank handicraft  product has not been incorporated into the marketplace until members of “Berkah Mandiri” (name of the piggy bank craftsman group) from Banyumas Regency)  really  meet the standards.  "In addition,  I have no capability  regarding adequate technical packaging in order to deliver piggy bank handicraft products out  of the city safely",  said Apri.