Artisan Organization: Nurul Madjid
Country: Bali & Java
"My parents raised me with love. They taught me to be strong and to not give up easily. I am grateful that I can face life's ups and downs with these teachings.
"I work with natural materials such as water hyacinth, pine leaf, raffia, pineapple fiber and agel grass, transforming them into fashion accessories and home d√©cor. My art also helps people in the villages, as I can give them work and share new designs with them.
"Working with these materials is like a reminder to always love nature, and keep replanting them so the fibers we use for our handicrafts are always available and sustainable.
"My life hasn't been easy but, looking back, I feel grateful and know that God has blessed me in many ways. I moved from Java to Bali, and got married. My designs sold well and I was able to open a little shop. It grew to the point that my husband and I could build a home, and everything came from working hard in that little shop.
"One day, my husband came home with a woman and she told me I'd have to move out because our house would soon be hers.
"My husband cheated me, and he divorced me to live with the other woman. I received nothing from all the hard work we did together. It was such a painful time for me and I was so depressed.
"But I didn't want to give up. I believed that God was with me and that he would guide me to find my way, alone without husband. I wanted to prove that I could make it. The bitterness of life is just a way to take us to another level so we can improve ourselves and become better people.
"So I worked and worked like crazy. Not a single day went by without work and prayer. I worked from the scratch, using anything that I had. It was a really hard time ‚Äî so many things to do!
"I had to plan to be successful, and this helped to recover from my pain. My life still goes on. I left all the memories and disappointment behind. All bad things will have their own karma. I truly believe that, so I just have to find my path and leave the rest behind.
"I started my new life alone. I just want to work and be successful. The handicrafts that I started from scratch were fruitful. I created new designs and placed them in my shop, adding to them from time to time. As I received new orders, I could start to smile again.
"After some years, my hard work brought very good results. I was able to build a new house. Although I'm still alone, I help many children. My nephew is like my own child. God is so kind to me, and I am grateful for everything.
"But there were sad things that happened in parallel with my life. Perhaps it's karma. One day, a man came to my shop when I was busy working. He asked for some coins to buy food because he was hungry and I gave him some. I was shocked when I really looked at his thin face, almost unrecognizable. He was my ex husband. He said he lost the house that he taken from me.""