The History of Kain Makna
Continuing on with the success of Chapters One and Two, we launch our initiative called MAKNA (/mak·na/) which means purpose. As an nonprofit organization, we aim to elevate the voices of the women though exhibiting and promoting their tenin heritage to the global community. Therefore, women in the villages can use 4 hours that they used previously to obtain water more productively.
Like in many villages in Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), the women of Desa Umutnana regularly weaves kain tenun daily. However, while some tenun communities on the island are able to access the market due to their proximity to the capital of NTT, the Umutnana Tenun Community is not. This has caused the tradition of weaving to slowly fade in younger girls, which is a concern for the village's women figures. Our initiative, Kain Makna, helps the women of Desa Umutnana rediscover their purpose in weaving by selling their handmade kain tenun. The tenun community consists of more than 40 women from Umutnana and its sister village, As Manulea.
Meet Mama Yuliana!
A 39 year-old homemaker with two daughters and a son. As solar-powered pumps were installed last year around the village, her daily life routine no longer include an hour long walk up to the nearest reservoir for 4 gallons of water. With her spare time, she weaves kain tenun — traditional artisanal fabric with sharp and intricate details — along with her friends.
Each woman owns a traditional wooden weaving equipment that has been passed down from generation to generation and works on one piece of tenun from start to finish. A piece of tenun can take from 1 week up to years to be finished, according to the material, pattern, and size.