In Bali, silversmithing is a very popular skill, but few artisans are paid fairly because the demand is so high. Tourists drive up the cost of silver, but little makes it into the silversmiths’ pockets — most is taken by the middlemen running large factories. Through a fair trade cooperative in Bali, artisans are not only paid fairly, but they have access to life-changing services including soft loans, sanitary plumbing, farming support, and even access to cows that help agriculture thrive.
We met Karyawati during an artisan visit to Bali in April 2019. With access to a sustainable income through making jewelry, she has been able to renovate her family’s house compound, including upgrading to proper plumbing and adding a beautiful family shrine, the most sacred area of a traditional Balinese house compound. Her income also allowed her to adopt a beautiful little girl named Intan when Intan’s birth mother was unable to care for her. Karywati also has a daughter in college and dreams of seeing both her girls graduate.