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Nusa Tenggara Association

Ikat Weaving - empower women through sustainable livelihoods

Your donation

Your donation will be spent on awareness raising, training and equipment, enabling weavers to increase their income while working in a healthier and environmentally sustainable fashion. 

  • Natural dye field day: NTA-affiliated weaving groups to learn about and discuss the impacts of synthetic dyes versus natural dyes in weaving (100 participants). 
  • Workshop 1: 2 day training session on natural dye for 6 groups in 2 different locations (60-80 participants) 
  • Purchase 6 Sewing Machines: Provide to 6 weaving groups to facilitate product diversification.
  • Workshop 2: 2 day training session for 6 groups in 2 locations on using sewing machines to make a range of different products from ikat materials (50-60 participants). 

Weaving is an important source of income for families in rural areas of Eastern Indonesia. Most of these families are subsistence farmers, cultivating 0.25 – 0.5 ha of land in order to cover their basic needs. Annual income for a family is often not much more than $500 per year. Most women in this area are able to weave, which can generate vital additional income during the lengthy dry season. 

Natural dye

Sikka Regency, Eastern Flores, is renowned for its traditional ikat textiles, which feature intricate, natural dye motifs. However, the time consuming nature of natural dyeing techniques and limited demand in the local market are seeing these dyes replaced by synthetic dyes, which are quicker and easier to use. However, the negative environmental and health impacts of chemical dyes are often overlooked and as a result of these changes, natural dyeing traditions are at risk of disappearing. 

The district “Sikka” in the east of Flores is one of the most famous areas for traditional weaving, which is called Tenun Ikat in Indonesian. These traditional textiles from the area of Sikka are popular for its sophisticated motives and the use of natural dye. But using natural dye is time consuming and there is a limited demand on the local market. Therefore chemical dye has become a quick and easy solution gaining more popularity among young women. Consequently local traditions are at risk to disappear and negative impacts of Chemical dye for the environment and the producers health are often overseen.

Market demand: product diversification

Natural dye Ikat from Sikka is more popular in other areas of Indonesia and in Western Countries than in Flores. In particular, fashion accessories and home-décor items made out of traditional ikat are increasingly popular in Jakarta and Bali.

NTA ikat pilot project

Over the past 2 years, NTA has been running a pilot project with a weaving group in Sikka, developing marketing material, facilitating natural dye training, providing online marketing tools and running a workshop in product diversification using semi-industrial sewing machines. The group has been able to apply these new skills successfully, increasing their income through the production and sale of ikat. With your help, NTA can replicate these activities with other weaving groups who have already approached NTA and signalled their interest and motivation in collaboration.


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Contact Details

10 Moss St
COOK ACT, 2614

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