Using Skills to Make Money
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Using Skills to Make Money
Poverty is a problem that developed countries experience such as America. The report done by CNN has shown this, which pointed out that about 46.2 million people in America lived in poverty. This number was an increment of 2.6 million from the previous year. The report was shocking just to imagine of such a developed country engulfed by such a crisis what about the developing countries across the world. A good example from Indonesia shows that some of the people living under poverty lack education and skills and they amount to about 75% of that population. It is up to us to use the skills and education we have acquired to make living better for such people because they need our help.
Louis L' Amour, said that money can be lost or stolen but what you have in mind is forever. This brought out the reality that it is not beneficial at all to always hand money to those wallowing in poverty but it is more beneficial if you teach the skills to such a person on how they can make their own money. Alex Stewart, the author of the book - Team Entrepreneurship supports the quote of L'Amour when he comes up with the term, collective entrepreneurship that targets the talents and creativity of each individual and draws them together in team effort.
The term collective entrepreneurship is applicable in the Indonesian society where they refer cooperation as gotong-ronyong, which exists mostly in its rural areas, and people view it as teamwork. Creativity and innovation is greatly required at this point, which will form the basis of the entrepreneurship. The creativity and the innovation however require a lot of element, which may all be hard to find in the people who lack an educational background. This is hard because you cannot introduce a budget plan or even a marketing strategy to them and this is not a dead end but in the light that every cloud has an unseen benefit. What is necessary is to develop a skill in these people, as it will be a solution to the poverty level by increasing the income of those in the rural areas.
Articles from Banjarmasin Post, mention of a school in a small state called Balairung where the stakeholders such as the students had successfully transformed water bottles, perfume bottles into vases and even pencil cases and they used creativity to make money. Some students from Gajahmada University came up with a great idea of how to recycle coconuts. They carried out observations in Soponyono village in Far East of Java Island and got information of the other benefits of coconuts. The students found out that the coconut skin could be useful in making beautiful handicrafts such as bracelets, wall hangings, kitchen utensils, ashtrays, belts, and many other items.
At first, the students found it rather difficult to convince some locals that their coconut skin has other benefits but on the mention of an income, the people seemed interested and everything had a solution. The people became more open to the new possibility of learning the new skill of making those handicrafts and within five months, a thousand pieces of wall hangings, ashtrays, belts, and jewelries were ready to put in the market. It once again shows that our hands can make people's lives much better if put into good use.
Apart from helping Soponyono people to increase their income, the students also gained benefits in practicing their business skills and increasing their pocket money. A group of students from Natural Sciences and Mathematics departments' with their leadership background tried to distribute the products to one of the department store in Indonesia. The building of one of the department stores in Indonesia called Alun-Alun was to give a place for artisans to sell their products to high-end markets. The department store asked the students to make sure that the quality of each product was different from the others. The students and some employee of the company held a thousand methods of quality test and it took five months to create awareness of the products into the market for the potential customers to access them. The sales of the products gradually increased and now people in Soponyono get an additional income from benefiting from the coconut skins. Recent research shows that Soponyono people have been working as coconut artisans.
I went around to the traditional market in New Orleans and saw many originally made pretty handicrafts in New Orleans. I had a chance to talk with one of the sellers about how she started the business and how Hurricane Katrina changed her whole life. Hurricane Katrina has destroyed all her assets including her restaurant, house, and car. The devastation of these people was clear as they had lost property, their education certificates and they did not have anything to call their own. Those who worked in the factories or companies there had lost even their jobs.
One Monday morning when she was visiting one shelter house, she met with a pretty girl with her shabby doll sitting in the corner of the garden; she asked if she could clean the doll. That became her inspiration, to make a doll, but under that circumstance, the material that she could afford was just unused fabrics. She gathered all patchworks that she could get and started to draw sketches of the dolls. Then, she found an idea to bring the children to involve in making dolls so it would at least bring a smile on their faces. The enthusiasm of the children also brought joy and contentment to her as hope for a brighter future was all she had to hold. Despite the fact of losing all the property, she could easily rebuild her life with the skills, experience, and help the children build on this skill as they started their lives afresh. In addition, even until now, children in that shelter house still help her business in making dolls; half of the profits go to that shelter house as donations. It once again shows that your hands do really make a change to other people.
Steve Jobs once said that we do not grow most of the food we eat, we wear clothes other people make, and we speak a language that other people developed. We had taken many things that other people did in the past and now it is a time for other people to take and benefit from what we have done. Apparently, some of us still fully depend on our parents to support our education, foods, leisure, and so on; it is good to know that we have gained many benefits from our parents. Moreover, there is nothing to lose if we share a little bit of our blessing in order to make a benefit for other folks out there. Remembering that money is not the only matter that we can give; time, skill, effort, and sincerity are far beyond more important.
Based on my story above, it clearly shows that one hand could benefit a thousand of people; starting with simple things such as sharing notes with your classmates who could not come to the class so that it can help them to prepare for the upcoming exam. I remembered a story that my mom once told me about her career history. She used to give a ride to one old woman who stood next to her school's gate and at that time, she was searching for jobs as well. Luckily, when she attended an interview in one company, she met with that woman again and eventually found out that that woman was the mother of the owner. We will never know that one day our hands not only could help other people but also benefit ourselves.
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