What started as a home-based enterprise and went on to grow into a full-fledged social enterprise on its own, Pungu Borneo is looking to create awareness on the importance of intellectual property on traditional knowledge and traditional culture expressions.
Co-founder, Lucille anak Awen Jon through her social enterprise has reintroduced traditional Bidayuh craft and jewelry as a fashionable and wearable product. Every design of the product as Lucille points out, has a story behind it and it has been their practice to share the story.
As part of its efforts to raise awareness, the social enterprise has collaborated with singer, Zee Avi on its Kano series, a range of affordable products for younger generations. Lucille herself, a master beader, has worked on the Pangieh Ranee offerings.
Additionally, local artisans working with Pungu Borneo has also produced a range of home products and local mothers employed by the social enterprise have worked on necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
The social enterprise also offers lanyards and other corporate gifts that can serve as employee gifts during festive seasons.
Pungu Borneo has also become more than just a medium to introduce and preserve craft, As she learnt the art through her grandmothers, Lucille is looking to enable women through programmes to learn and earn from traditional craft.
“We want to empower and motivate them through these free workshops and classes. Many mothers who crafters themselves have joined our programme and we managed to even secure few individual projects in 2020.” she says. Pungu Borneo is working alongside mothers from several kampungs to hone and develop the beading craft so they too can make a living to support themselves and their family.
And with the social enterprise originating from Sarawak, Lucille says it’s been a challenge running Pungu Borneo in the state because of the smaller local market and lesser economics opportunities for her and her team exploit. And with tougher logistics and smaller market appearances, it also means smaller product awareness.
Under Pungu Borneo, Lucille runs two brick-and-mortar stores in Bau and Kuching as well as a home-based studio in Shah Alam.
Her product range has also extended into batik apparels and rattan accessories.
“Pungu Borneo is not here to only support our beneficiaries financially but we aim to revive and preserve our heritage. The more the market understands the value of preserving heritage, the more quality products can be produced by our local entrepreneurs, in a way to helping to boost our local economy cycle,” she tells BusinessToday.
As for the future, Pungu Borneo is looking forward to work on more awareness campaigns to attract more customers as well as the younger generations. The social enterprise will also be working together with tourism ministry.
Lucille also shares that the team is also looking into a campaign with the education ministry to help introduce Sarawak’s dying arts and crafts to be part of the school curriculum.