“I will be able to survive and run this business by myself. I believe women can do what men can do.”Rusi Saryuni
Brick-making businesses in Indonesia are typically run by men, with women in support roles.
Rusi Saryuni, 30-year-old mother of four, started her business five years ago with her husband and has taken over the responsibilities. She handles all the marketing, finance, operation and production. She takes part in the entire production process, except the wet mixing, which is churned by buffalo.
To make her small business succeed, she carries heavy loads of sand, clay, and water, and pre-mixes them all manually with a hoe, with the help of employees and her children, including Igung. She can produce up to 1,000 bricks per day, which are dried in the sun then fired in a kiln.
Rusi attended our training in January 2013 and learned basic bookkeeping and how to produce higher quality bricks using less fresh-cut timber. Tracking her costs more accurately and lowering her production costs are helping her business thrive.
“I will be able to survive and run this business by myself. I believe women can do what men can do.”
Arranging the tall overlapping stacks of bricks atop the kiln is a complex job. The brickmaker must leave enough space between bricks to allow baking, while still fitting the maximum number of bricks per firing. Men are generally thought to be the best at arranging bricks. Rusi, however, is such a good arranger that other brickmakers ask her how she does it. Rusi says she learned to arrange the kiln because “I want to know everything about brick making and the process”.