Eng Kim Loong, 65, contracted polio on the age of 9, which left him paralysed in each legs.
But he fought again, refusing to let his incapacity be a incapacity in his capability to be self-reliant by turning to basketry to earn his livelihood.
Though items of baskets may be machine-made after which joined, a real basket have to be made by hand. And that’s the creativity and pleasure for Kim Loong, who has mastered the artwork of basket-weaving over the previous 30 years.
So far, baskets and swings fabricated from rattan are the one objects he produced, together with his enterprise performed from house and made-to-order.
“My prospects would normally name or come over to my home to put their orders,” he informed Bernama when met on the National Craft Day 2022 (HKK 2022) at Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex, Jalan Conlay, right here just lately.
Oblivious to his environment on the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex, Kim Loong was seated on the ground whereas weaving with nimble fingers, skinny bamboo strips to supply intricate rattan baskets. The basketry artist has a pure aptitude for it given his wealth of expertise within the craft.
A gifted weaver, Kim Loong, who resides in Wangsa Maju has not attended any coaching programs in rattan weaving, as he solely discovered through commentary from different weavers, together with working for others to supply the woven craft.
He mentioned the method of weaving a basket normally takes about two hours whereas for a child cradle utilizing full rattan takes two days, relying on the scale and design as requested by the shopper.
On his month-to-month revenue from his handicraft gross sales, the self-employed father of two mentioned that his revenue relies on gross sales derived from prospects’ orders.
“It’s not fastened and I used to get RM700 a month. I don’t have a store, I solely work from home and solely produce as soon as I obtain orders from prospects who both name me or go on to my home,” he mentioned, including that the value of a basket began from RM95 whereas a full set of rattan swing prices about RM480.
Besides instructing basketry on request, Kim Loong mentioned his participation in workshops, exhibitions, and so on are additionally made potential with the help of sure events together with HKK 2022 (Feb 23 to March 7).
Leveraging online platform
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted every thing from how we reside our lives to how we do enterprise. It has pressured entrepreneurs to take a look at digital media in a brand new mild.
Against this background, President of Persatuan Usahawan Internet Malaysia, Mohd Azrul Mohd Nor informed Bernama in an interview, individuals with disabilities (OKU) ought to leverage the online platform to market their merchandise as demand for handicraft is just not restricted to the home market.
“Many initiatives can be found for entrepreneurs to develop their enterprise through the use of the social media reminiscent of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTookay. At the identical time, merchandise may be marketed through the e-commerce platforms reminiscent of Lazada and Shopee.
“To date, many disabled individuals have marketed their merchandise. However, extra ought to be accomplished to assist them by launching campaigns to purchase their handicraft. Their merchandise will acquire wider publicity through elevated online participation,” he mentioned, including that the affiliation additionally conducts online programs for OKU entrepreneurs and people can register at http://ahli.puim.org.my
Noting that individuals with disabilities are confronted with numerous challenges and difficulties in advertising their merchandise online, Mohd Azrul mentioned, at current, no particular focus is made to recurrently coordinate and monitor the OKU’s digital involvement.
“This group is confronted with the challenges to totally utilise the digital platform of their enterprise particularly in stock administration and advertising. The OKU ought to be given coaching in expertise enhancing and product gross sales,” he mentioned.
At the identical time, the ecommerce platform ought to be empowered for the OKU who conducts handicraft enterprise as it’ll go a good distance in uplifting their financial system within the publish Covid-19 period.
“This platform additionally offers an avenue and alternative for producers of distinctive and inventive merchandise to be aggressive. As such, steady efforts have to be made to make sure the OKU merchants undertake a inventive enterprise strategy and confide in out there alternatives,” he mentioned.
Market research, in-depth analysis
In empowering OKU handicraft, the Social Welfare Department (JKM) additionally focuses on comparable efforts together with conducting in-depth research on online platforms earlier than any initiative is undertaken.
In this regard, JKM’s Deputy Director General (Operation), Fatimah Zuraidah Salleh mentioned, earlier than a venture is carried out, the division has to establish the power of every handicraft produced.
“All merchandise should go through quite a few inspections – high quality, shares and amount – for high quality management to make sure compliance to all necessities. Given the uncertainties introduced on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the platform for use have to be rigorously studied.
“However, handicraft merchandise reminiscent of work have their very own followers. Response from the company sector has additionally been encouraging,” she famous.
OKU handicraft merchandise additionally caught the eye of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob when he formally launched the OKU Day (Persons with Disabilities Day) on Dec 3, 2021.
JKM, she mentioned will proceed to accentuate efforts in selling OKU handicraft works together with collaborating with numerous events to create an online platform for the aim.
“To compete within the open market is just not straightforward given the supply of many established and famend manufacturers, however we are going to proceed with our promotion efforts for the OKU,” she mentioned.
On OKU’s involvement which is seen missing in exhibitions or actions to advertise Malaysian made handicraft, Fatimah Zuraidah hopes that the related businesses may work hand in glove by giving alternatives for individuals with disabilities to hitch in.
“The Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation Development (Kraftangan Malaysia) is welcomed to provoke early discussions on the OKU’s involvement in selling their handicraft merchandise. This will not directly assist increase the OKU’s revenue,” she added.
Various initiatives have been undertaken by JKM to market OKU handicraft merchandise, which embrace ProWell Project, a social enterprise initiative below the division’s Productive Welfare Division that gives financial empowerment.
The venture, which caters for teams with particular wants, incorporates the rules of social innovation, inclusive growth and social entrepreneurship.
The ProWell Welfare Centre, sited on the Industrial Training and Rehabilitation Centre in Bangi was arrange in 2016 as a hub for analysis and growth (R&D) for OKU merchandise, product assortment, packaging, distribution, high quality management, product gallery and coaching centre for the division’s goal teams.
So far the ProWell Project has produced over 200 varieties of handicraft merchandise reminiscent of Songket and Batik. However, primarily based on present gross sales traits, 24 sizzling objects have been recognized as on excessive demand and are marketed through ProWell’s Facebook and Instagram in addition to on Shopee.
ProWell additionally promotes OKU merchandise through different online platforms reminiscent of [email protected] As at finish of this month, ProWell merchandise are bought on Shopee through prowellproject account. For a begin, a number of chosen sizzling objects will probably be bought through the platform.
‘To date, OKU merchandise are marketed and promoted not solely through exhibitions on the company and ministry ranges but additionally in Dubai, Berlin, New York and Paris. The promotion is performed through working visits of the senior administration of the ministry and division. Among the favored merchandise are Songket Bag, Songket Pencil Case, Songket Phone Casing, Songket Pouch and Songket Folder.
As of March final yr, ProWell Project has assisted 325 OKU contributors in producing their revenue in addition to establishing their very own enterprise.
Rehabilitation in neighborhood centre (PDK)
Fatimah Zuraidah additionally touched on the financial empowerment programme on the Rehabilitation in Community centre (PDK), which inspires the OKU to be self-reliant, along with boosting the financial sector through enterprise actions.
“The Seri Malindo PDK in Melaka and the Wakaf Tapai PDK in Terengganu are among the many organisations which might be actively selling the financial empowerment programme by establishing a tailoring workshop for OKU coaching and empowerment actions for self-reliance,” she mentioned.
Fatimah Zuraidah mentioned to this point, Seri Malindo PDK and Wakaf Tapai PDK are actively selling their companies and merchandise through the mass media, Facebook, blogs (serimalindo.blogspot.com), Shopee, Camdy, Craft E- Shopee and E-Craft Bazaar.
“Seri Malindo PDK and Wakaf Tapai PDK have additionally expanded their operations by establishing Koperasi Usahawan PDK Berhad and Koperasi Komuniti Cakna Wakaf Tapai Marang Berhad to advertise and introduce OKU merchandise. The cooperatives additionally serve to coach the OKU in enterprise,” she mentioned.
As a results of the promotion, each PDKs have been receiving native and overseas guests in addition to securing orders from numerous events. – Bernama