Firman with his water hyacinth product | Credit: Firman Documentation

Water hyacinth is an aquatic plant that lives in swamps, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers that flow still. Even the spread of this plant is relatively fast. Thus, it is often considered a weed that can damage the aquatic environment.

However, in the hands of Firman Setyaji, water hyacinth can be processed into valuable handicrafts. This 31-year-old millennial is the founder of Bengok Craft. Living on Jalan Sejambu, RT 2 RW 5, Kesowor, Tuntang sub-district, Semarang regency, Firman admitted, this effort was developed to increase the added value of water hyacinth.

Starting from creativity, Firman and Bengok Craft succeeded in raising the class of water hyacinth plants which tend to be considered useless and damaging to the environment into quality handicrafts.

Firman started the Bengok Craft business in January 2019. After returning from studying at UI, he returned to his hometown in Semarang and saw the potential that could be developed from the water hyacinth that grows a lot around Rawa Pening.

At that time, I began to pay attention to how people, from old to young, went back and forth to take water hyacinth, dry it, and then sell it in raw form,” said Firman.

Firman then felt that something could be done from the existing ecosystem to improve the living standards of the surrounding community. “I thought that there was potential that could be improved. Not only selling raw materials but increasing it into a finished goods ecosystem,” he added.

The socio-preneur business initiated by Firman was created with the mission of processing water hyacinth into valuable goods, as well as creating job opportunities for local communities. However, the built business has not been able to run as smoothly as supposed to be.

Firman faces obstacles since everyone does not want to be invited to make crafts made from water hyacinth. In fact, some people who had previously participated in the water hyacinth craft had to stop because they thought they could not change their standard of living.

We invite people to work in the water hyacinth craft, and it was difficult at first. This is because they do not know the prospects and compare it with other jobs,” he said.

Then, Firman began to research to find out what could be done to increase Rawa Pening potential. He then found that there is an interest in unique products made from natural materials among the public, especially the millennial generation.

This inspiration prompted him to start a business. Bengok Craft is a creative space based on community empowerment to process water hyacinth into a valuable craft.

What does Firman do? Click here to read.

This article has been published on with the title “Alumni Kriminologi UI in Berdayakan Masyarakat dengan Enceng Gondok“, Masyarakat-astaria-olah-eceng- goiter-so-diverse-crafts?page=3.
Reporter: Echa | Editor: Yulianto
Translator: Ritya Rasta Bilqiis

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