Umajati is about cultural integrity, care for the environment, and sustainable livelihoods. A percentage of sales are committed to conservation and livelihood development across Indonesia, giving targeted, long-term mentoring to community groups for sustainable change. This work is done through the Bebali Foundation and the network of communities with which it works.
Umajati's owners founded the fairtrade-certified Threads of Life gallery in Ubud in 1997 and the Bebali Foundation in 2002 with three inter-related aims: to initiate community business for the rural poor across Indonesia by establishing women’s weavers cooperatives to make high-value traditional textiles; to catalyze community forest stewardship by encouraging weavers to work sustainably using natural dyes; and to nurture aspects of traditional culture that strengthen contemporary society by supporting the integrity of heirloom textile motifs, dye recipes, and traditional knowledge.
Their work in the field frequently confronts them with the environmental and social costs of climate change and deforestation. At different times of the year a partner community may be left poor and hungry by either extended droughts or severe flooding. In the face of these overwhelming problems, Umajati was developed. It shares the values of both Threads of Life and the Bebali Foundation and can also lend support to help mitigate some of the problems so many of these communities face.
“’Bal’ in Sanskrit means strength, and ‘Bali’ means sacrifice,
surrender, forgo… Our ancestors gave the name Bali to this island
so that we remember our potential; so that we don’t forget our
strength; so that we are ready to help others.”
Balinese journalist Anand Krishna