Firman displayed Bengok Craft Creations at Mang Engking
Credit: Instagram @bengokcraft

A step that you want to take needs to be realized directly, not just wishful thinking. As a human being who is sensitive to the circumstances around them, there must be a feeling of rebellion inside of the heart when witnessing an inappropriate situation.

Firman Setyaji feels the same way. At that time, several years ago Firman decided to return to his hometown after working in the capital city. This is not without cause. Firman was moved to build his village, namely Kesongo, to be even more empowered by utilizing the potential around him.

Incidentally, his village is adjacent to Rawa Pening, a large swamp which is famous for surrounding Semarang and Salatiga Regencies.

At a glance, the swamp looks charming, especially when accompanied by stunning stretches of rice fields and mountains. But who would have thought if there is a problem in it. The swamp is filled with water hyacinth that grows massively above the waters.

Water hyacinth is known as a weed that could harm the Rawa Pening environmental ecosystem. This is where Firman started to think about solving problems in his village and was moved to reduce water hyacinth but not just throw it away.

The idea occurred to process water hyacinth into crafts. He is well aware that so far water hyacinth has only been harvested, dried, and then sold to collectors for around 500 rupiah per bunch. How pity, isn’t it?

Then from there he dared to step up to set up a business called “Bengok Craft”, he himself tried to sell water hyacinth crafts locally. The crafts he created are still very simple, namely his first creation is the Bengok Book, then followed by accessories such as bracelets and key chains. The initial journey of developing a business is not as easy as turning the palm of the hand. To market it locally, not many people are too interested since they are used to water hyacinth which is abundant there.

As for Firman, he wants to change the lives of the local residents there by inviting them to become more empowered as artisans. However, again there are not many who are interested, only a handful of people. So that Firman used makeshift artisans with less than 5 people at that time.

With the condition that there are still few craftsmen with unstable orders, Firman ventured to expand his creations between 2019-2020 to market his creations outside the region, besides that he is also actively involved in training, workshops and business/entrepreneurship seminars provided by the government institution or non-government institution like hospitality industry. Who would have thought, his unique creations are in demand by many people. From there, Firman started to get orders in relatively large quantities than usual and business started to recover.

This made Firman even more convinced that he had the courage to take a step because the potential for water hyacinth crafts was enormous, and could change many things. He is sure that with his community business, which was built more than 3 years ago, he could solve environmental problems in Rawa Pening. In addition, he is very sure that his business could help the economy of the local villagers because they are increasingly empowered by having special skills to become artisans, so that their standard of living will gradually begin to rise.

The potentials that he has achieved are of course also based on the nature of Firman who never gives up, is tenacious, and is diligent in running his business because for Firman life will be more meaningful if he contributes to bring a more positive impact on the surrounding environment.

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