Amid the sound of power saws, mixed with a dangdut music coming from a cell phone, capable hands, some tattooed, cut wooden boards into eye wear frames.
Former drug addict Mario Bannet, in cooperation with the Sadar Hati Foundation, invited other former addicts and convicts to work at a workshop to produce wooden eye wear frames, which are marketed not only in Indonesia but also abroad.
The home industry in Bandungrejo in Malang, East Java, produces about 50 frames per month, with various models tagged at Rp 400,000 [US$30] to Rp 500,000. The frames are sold in Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali, as well as in the US, the UK and Italy.
The artisans create the frames from sonokeling [Indian rosewood] and teak recycled from used furniture.
Although they are former addicts, the artisans seem to want to keep a piece of their old life in their work by naming each frame design after a drug type: dark heroin, putau [a local name for heroin] and magadon [pills].
Mario chose an online platform to sell their products and the profits go to Sadar Hati, which will allot some of the profits for facilitate the rehabilitation of more drug addicts.
Lately, Mario has not only helped addicts, but also unemployed young people and street musicians who want to change their lives. [evi]