Wanasalam Village is located in Ligung District, Majalengka, West Java. The sun has already passed a bit. In early October 2022, the atmosphere at the village hall was quite lively. That day at the village hall, there will be a kick-off meeting for the grant program from the Pertamina Foundation. A number of invited guests have attended. Among them were representatives from Bappeda Majalengka Regency, vice chancellors from universities, foundation administrators, students and villagers.
Among those present, there was Vania Chandrajaya, a student from International Relations Study Program at President University (Presuniv). Vania is the team leader for the Pertamina Foundation's 2022 PFmuda Social Project Competition. In the competition, Vania and the team proposed a social project called Utilizing Vehicle Upholstery Waste to Increase Community Income in Wanasalam Village, Ligung District, Majalengka Regency.
To be able to work on the project, Vania and the team had to go through a rigorous selection process at Pertamina Foundation. He said, "In total, there are 7.800 social project proposals." The participants came from universities, activists, foundations, lecturers, teachers, and individuals. After being selected, 250 proposals passed. It was selected again until only 100 proposals remained, then the top 50, and finally 36 proposals.
Vania's proposal was ranked 13th and received funding from the Pertamina Foundation. She said, "Up to the funding stage, only me and the team made it through." The rest are from those who have experience managing social projects. So, I am the youngest.
Regarding the proposal, Vania said, Wanasalam Village faced a problem in dealing with the remaining waste in the form of pieces of vehicle upholstery leather from the company there. "Every month the waste can reach 2 tons," said Vania. Usually, the waste is only collected and sold to collectors at low prices, said Vania.
Because they depend on collectors, when they buy late, waste piles up. It is obvious that if disposed of in this manner, it will cause problems.Because it is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane, it will take more than 100 years for this waste to decompose. This will obviously lead to pollution. Pollution of both the soil and the water. If burned, "That will trigger air pollution," said Vania.
Then, there must be a solution. That's what Vania and the team have done through their social projects supported by Pertamina Foundation.
That morning, in front of a number of invited guests, Vania had to present her project. She initiated the processing of upholstery waste into various handicrafts, such as accessories for vehicle interiors, bags, souvenirs, prayer mats, rugs for yoga, rice bags, and complementary products for women's clothing. The waste treatment project, according to Vania, also provided several social benefits.
Piles of upholstery waste in Wanasalam Village.
Source: Doc. Vania.
Among other things, creating jobs while villagers are waiting for the harvest "If there is no work, they will go to the city to look for work," said Vania. The existence of this project has also made the residents of Wanasalam Village, including the women, able to get additional income.
That's the idea. Even so, the effort to realize this idea was not easy. Vania again explained that there was only one sewing machine in the village. Another problem is that the majority of villagers are not skilled in making designs and products, including marketing. "Their access to the market is very limited," she said. Then, village funds to improve residents' skills are also very limited. Vania is hacking into that problem.
Since the project was approved by Pertamina, Vania and the team immediately moved. She conducts socialization, designs work systems, conducts training through workshops, selects potential villagers to join the project, designs production processes, and prepares branding and marketing strategies, including conducting evaluations and monitoring. "We carry out regular evaluations to get lessons learned from each process," said Vania.
Now, the project is entering the stage of developing a marketing strategy. Simultaneously, the processes of training, monitoring, and so on are also being carried out. Vania hopes that this project will produce positive results. "I hope that car seat waste has a higher value because it has been made into various products," she said. Vania also wants the people of Wanasalam Village to be able to form independent businesses and become formidable entrepreneurs by mastering skills in designing and marketing them.
Vania continued, "With an independent business, hopefully the urbanization rate of Wanasalam Village will decrease." He also hopes that the independent businesses in the village will grow and become profitable. (JB Susetiyo, PR team. Photo: Doc. Vania).