Social Entrepreneur Sisters : Ida & Lila of House of Diamonds

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Ida and Lila  (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

Today we introduce sisters Ida and Lila, founders of ‘House of Diamonds’ a social enterprise based in Malang East Java. House of Diamonds is a home goods and wearables brand which features their signature ‘jahit jelujur ‘running stitch’.

The message of Ida and Lila’s story is that the human spirit is boundless. As little children and teenagers Ida and Lila faced enormous hardship, but bounced back demonstrating resilience and self belief. Now they work to empower young marginalized women in their community to live lives that involve meaningful and fulfilling employment as textile-artists, offering freedom to work in a safe, loving environment for good wages.

 

‘A diamond, formed from seemingly nothing, emerging as a precious jewel … resilient. individual. valuable. beautiful’

House of Diamonds 

This is their story …

*Kenalkan Ida and Lila

About Ida and Lila
Ida : My full name is Nur Cholidah, but I like to be called Ida. I am 37 years of age
Lila: My full name is Noor Fadillah, but I like to be called Lila. I am 36 years of age

Please share with us a little of your backgrounds
Ida and Lila : We were both born in *Malang, a city in East Java, studied in Malang from Kindergarten until High School, and grew up in seamstress family, which began with our grandfather and continues with us.

What did you want to be when you were children?
Ida : I wanted to be a singer/ maths teacher/ and designer. Basically I’ve wanted to be all of those until today):)
Lila: I wanted to be a banker when I was little

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Lila and Ida (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

When was House Of Diamonds Established?
House Of Diamonds established in 2012 (but we had no name at that time), because we didn’t think that far, all we wanted to do was just help teen girls who were dropping out of school. So we mainly just wanted to help them by teaching them how to sew, and kept that in mind, hoping that one day we could do more like paying them more, so they’d be able to continue their study. Finally in 2013, one of our good friends from Melbourne (Beck Anne who is also a House of Diamonds founder) came to visit us after she had her first daughter, and she asked us if she was allowed to name our mini organization  “House Of Diamonds”

‘All we wanted to do was just help teen girls who were dropping out of school’

 

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‘They each have their own stories of ‘extreme pressure’ but they are hope-filled and rising above their circumstances (Image by @carrieand Words by House of Diamonds)

Who or what inspired you to begin this business and be social entrepreneurs?
The very first person who inspired us to begin this business and be social entrepreneurs is our beloved mother, Nanik Fatima, Rest In Peace, based on her very long journey.

She worked in the Middle East as a private seamstress for 10 years, and we had to live separate from her for more than 10 years, since I was 3 years old, and Lila 16 months. She kept going back to the Middle East to work as a seamstress … she didn’t want to do that, but circumstances made her. She wanted her girls to have good educations and live well, as our Dad was jobless for many many years, and when he got a job, the income was so little, not enough for living, to buy food and even school was way out of our reach. That made our Mum decide to work there. But, it didn’t turn out the way she expected, it was a very painful journey. From experiencing that situation in her life, we were motivated to be really serious about building House Of Diamonds.

Our hope is that HOD Indonesia can be a very good place and safe for women who are vulnerable, and at risk of making decisions to work as low migrant workers. We have been through this very same tough situation. It is not good for the mother and the children who have to live separately that way.

‘Our hope is that HOD Indonesia can be a very good place and safe for women who are vulnerable, and at risk of making decisions to work as low migrant workers’

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Ella has recently graduated from school beating the odds in a village where the norm is for young women to leave school early to find jobs to support their families. Ella dreams of attending University and through ethical employment with HoD she can both help her family meet their financial needs and set aside savings for her education. (Image and words courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

We experienced violence and bullying physically, verbally from our school friends, kids in our neighbourhood, because our parents were not with us. Our Mum was far away, and Dad had to go to work, so we were often home alone, and we ended up dropping out of school for two years. We were not the only ones, there are many many kids who had to go through that same harsh situation.

Based on our experience, we want to help and work together with these women to end that cycle, not easy but at least we can do something about it according to our ability. We have been blessed with such a clever woman (our mother) who taught us how to sew, making patterns, speaking in English. We have many encouraging friends here in Indonesia and outside Indonesia that are willing to help make this vision come into reality.

‘Based on our experience, we want to help and work together with these women to end that cycle, not easy, but at least we can do something about it according to our ability’

We chose the name ‘House Of Diamonds’, based on our experiences.  Our very clever Mum used to work in a big house in the Middle East non stop everyday 16 hours / 7 days a week with no holidays. She was treated badly. Lila and I used to work from factory to factory as sewers who were paid so little, working long hours.

‘Those houses (the sweatshop factories) were so dark through our eyes, but so many super talented women were actually inside those buildings, waiting and hoping one day, people will look to them and appreciate their work’

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Mother and Daughter artisans Ibu Un and Ibu Dwi (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

What are your plans for the future?
Our hope for HOD Indonesia is that we will have our own place to train and work with the ladies. Now we still work and train them in our modest rented house in Malang.

That one day when HOD grows stronger and bigger, we want to have a training center, for those who don’t have an skill, but are willing to learn, train, and work hard (but not as hard as sweatshop workers, that is crazy)

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Lila, Ilmi and Ida (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

We have a hope that we can give scholarships to children, to end poverty. I mean not in terms of having billions of rupiah (even though there is nothing wrong with that), but more of those riches to help young girls to become better people, to be more confident, and be able to help other people in the future.

We have a hope that we can give scholarships to children, to end poverty. I mean not in terms of having billions of rupiah (even though there is nothing wrong with that), but more of those riches to help young girls to become better people, to be more confident, and be able to help other people in the future.

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House of Diamonds quilts are beautifully hand stitched and finished with detailed blanket stitching, fringes, pompoms or tassel edging. Each unique hand stitched quilt comes with the photo of the artisan who made it. (Words and Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)
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House of Diamonds are releasing a line of natural dye throws in the Northern Hemisphere Fall ( Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

Who do you find inspiring?

Ida: Kartini (in her gentleness, she went against the rules and broke with tradition, and worked hard to get the rights of women to have the same chance as men in education in Indonesia.
Lila: Mother Teresa of Calcutta (be kind without thinking) :):)

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Ida (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?

Ida: Whenever I make new clothes for my self
Lila: When I wear skirts and dresses

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House of Diamonds floral throw with their signature ‘jahit jelujur’ or ‘running stitch’ (Image Courtesy of House of Diamonds)

What annoys you?

Ida: Waiting and searching but no clue, and I can’t find rice
Lila: Hot weather and polyester outfits

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House of Diamonds quilt with signature running stitch and fringe (Image Courtesy of House of Diamonds)
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The House of Diamonds boho cross body bag (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

What delights you?

Ida: Getting new ideas and designs
Lila: Going to shop for new textiles

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Lila and a basketful of throw rugs (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

What’s your most treasured possession?

Ida: Handwriting of my Mother and a medal that my Dad made for me
Lila: Accessories collection that I’ve been collecting since I was 11 years old

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The House of Diamonds Kimono (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

About Malang and Indonesia

3 words to describe Malang

Nice food, Aremania ( loyal supporters of Malang football club) Friendly

What’s our favourite Indonesian Movie, Band or Singer

Movie: We both love Warkop DKI movie, very entertaining
Band: The old Dewa 19 ( Lila), Superman Is Dead (Ida)
Singer: We both really like Glenn Fredly

Who is your favourite Indonesian artist/creative?

Ida: I like Melissa Sunjaya, (designer and owner of My Tulisan)
Lila: No specific name, but I really love weavers (people who weave Tenun):)

Where’s our favourite place to eat in Malang?

Rumah makan Inggil, and Rumah Makan Jogjakarta, both are in Malang

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Beautiful East Java, home to the House of Diamonds community (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

Tea, coffee,or juice? and where?

Ida: Coffee
Lila: Coffee

We all love to go to Java Dancer Cafe

Finish these sentences

Every visitor to Malang should eat bakso Malang
Every visitor to Malang should visit  Rumah Makan Inggil
Every visitor to Malang should experience Bromo mountain

What’s our favourite place to visit in Indonesia?

Bali:)

What is Malang’s best kept secret?

Bahasa Walikan (only Malang people know and understand that language)

Favourite Apps?

Lila: Games (Candy Crush)
Ida: Instagram

If you could have dinner with 2 famous people , who would you invite?

Ida: Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook CEO) and Ibu Susi Pujiastuti (our female Marine and Fisherie Minister)
Lila: Ibu Susi Pujiastuti and Gal Gadot (Known for her recent role as Wonder Woman)

What do you do for fun when you are not working?

Ida: Watch movies
LIla: Watch movies

We just want to add something:

Please be kind to Children 🙂

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House of Diamonds founders, Lila and Ida with Liz in March this year. I had been introduced to their beautiful throws with their ‘signature running stitch’ at the ANZA Christmas Bazaar in November last year. I love their products but also feel privileged to share their story with you here. (Image courtesy of ‘House of Diamonds’)

Where can we purchase your House of Diamonds products?

We will be at the ANZA Christmas Bazaar in Jakarta on Saturday the 11th November, 2017 and the BWA Christmas Bazaar on 24 November, 2017
You can also contact us on our Instagram hodindonesia (Direct message) or Private message to our Facebook page: House Of Diamonds.

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*Kenalkan : Let me introduce

*Malang is the second largest city in East Java with a population of about 1.2 million and approximately 100 km from Surabaya. Malang is significantly urbanised and is known for its historical character, beautiful landscapes including its proximity to Mount Semeru, the highest mountain on Java  and Indonesia’s most active volcano and Mount Bromo.

 

 

Words : Ida, Lila and Liz Photography : House of Diamonds Indonesia

Comments

    • ajourneybespoke says

      Hello Anna
      So glad you enjoyed Ida and Lila’s story. We agree! Inspiring in so many ways. Thank you for your message.

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