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Home / Our Journey / Corn is a main staple in Sumba
Corn is a main staple in Sumba

Corn is a main staple in Sumba

Hi, my name is Ika and I'm Dream Chatter's designer. I live in Surabaya, Indonesia, and it's my passion to combine fashion, art, with giving back. I love learning about how others survive in other parts of my country, because there are thousands of islands. Surabaya is very city-like and urban, and it's incredible to see how in other parts - others don't have even the basics - like food, water, or electricity.

Dream Chatter empowers moms and families in remote villages in Sumba, Indonesia, through weaving. We create jobs, support children's education and find ways to give to the community. We happen to make high quality handbags.

Our team is spread out across different islands. Our team member in Sumba, Fani, told me about how right now -- villagers take time off weaving to harvest corn. 



 I have never been to Sumba before and hope to go soon. Fani says that people put all of their efforts into farming corn, because it's their livelihood. It takes around four months for the corn to grow. Farmers rely on every crop, because they rely on the seeds for the next round of harvest. 

Meet the Bumbu’s. This is Rinja Bumbu (who we know as Ibu Wanda). She is one of Dream Chatter’s Tenun weavers. In the photo, she’s sifting corn seeds during harvest time in Sumba, Indonesia. Most seasons are dry and unfruitful, but right now - it’s been raining and it’s made the land quite prosperous.

Rinja lives with her husband and four children. On an average day, Rinja cooks and helps with many aspects of farming corn.

Like many families in similar rural villages in Sumba, this family uses corn in pretty much everything. Since corn is used for their everyday meals, there is little left for trade.


I also learned that Rinja’s children (as most 6-12 year olds do), also help during the harvest. After school is finished for the day, they walk back home (which takes about an hour). Then they help with tasks around the farm such as shepherding goats, feeding pigs, shuttling water, and doing other chores while their parents are busy with the corn.

One of the challenges I learned about people living in Sumba is the lack of nutritious food. In order to get food like rice and fish (which is often expensive), the people often have to travel outside of their village and into the city districts to get it. In Rinja’s family, they often settle for cheaper meals consisting of corn, cassava leaf, papaya flower, or eggplant.

All in all, for as many challenges as there are in Sumba, everyone works together to create a tight-knit community that survives on the most basic things. Dream Chatter’s aim is to empower the people in small villages, like those in Sumba, for even better opportunities for their families and their children.

Purchase with a purpose, and through our products and you can support artisans like Rinja and their families. Our new VIA bags supports a child education by purchasing their school supplies! Support Sumba here.




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