"My mother and grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was a little girl, and by the time was nine years old, I was making dresses and hats for my dolls. When I grew older, my friends and family would ask me to crochet a variety of items for them such as baby clothes, bags,...
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"My mother and grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was a little girl, and by the time was nine years old, I was making dresses and hats for my dolls. When I grew older, my friends and family would ask me to crochet a variety of items for them such as baby clothes, bags, scarves, doilies and more.
"In 2005 I joined an HIV/AIDS group that included their relatives. I was moved to learn their reality: most of them were unemployed and discriminated against by society. I came up with the idea of helping them to earn money by teaching them to crochet. Together we make crochet of jewelries like necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings. I changed wool threads to copper wires plated with sterling silver and/or gold. The idea is to supplement their income for living expenses as well as for medication.
"Amongst the initial founding members of the group were Teguh and Kartini, dear friends who contributed their support as well as capital. They lost their lives to HIV/AIDS, but their memory inspires us to continue our group.
"We are seven in our HIV/AIDS group, and we have become good friends. We look after each other when we're not feeling well, we remind each other to eat and take our medication. We've become a family. We haven't a specific name for our group, but we've considered 'Ease' to remind us about the ease of life and to enjoy it, letting go of the difficulties and discriminations we encounter. 'Ease' also represents the fact that we are free to choose to do this activity. No one is forcing us, and it contributes to personal finances while being a pleasant activity. As a group, we are members of IPPI (Women's Association with Positive Indonesia) as well as Tunjung Putih Bali (Women's Association for HIV/AIDS People and Relatives in Bali).
"I make most of the designs, but others are starting to design now too. I supply the materials and make a prototype for others to follow. Our designs are intended to be new and original, ergonomic and of good quality. We integrate pearls and gemstones into our designs to create nicer details.
"The proceeds from the sales of our collections are for our HIV/AIDS group. We use it for purchasing more material. We will also invest a percentage of it to join exhibitions, if we know they will increase our sales.
"We take the necessary precautions when we crochet the wires. We hold them with tongs and pliers, and avoid the joints so that when we get close to the edge we join it with another wire. When a piece is finished, it is thoroughly cleaned before plating in sterling silver and re-plating in 18k gold.
"I hope Novica can help promote and market our jewelries at an international level and help the whole world understand that people infected HIV/AIDS also deserve the same right to life and social standards as others."