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Chainsaw Buyback MSME Partners: Revitalize the Family Economy and Send Children to College

The Persikara football field next to the North Kayong Regency DPRD office looked busy. The crowd could be heard screaming from the sidelines to support their champion team. Young people, fathers, mothers filled the sidelines.

Behind the crowd, there was Arifin (42 years old) who was selling sugar cane ice and looked busy serving thirsty customers after shouting to support his champion team under the hot sun. Also players who have just finished competing. His hands seemed skilled at inserting sugar cane stalks that had been scraped with a special knife, then ground them into a machine to remove the water. The ice cubes in the thermos are put into the packaging, then poured with sugar cane juice. Finally, it lands in the buyer's hands and is ready to moisten dry throats. Arifin's complete work helps save thirsty throats.

But it is repetitive work. In the midst of this crowd, Arifin has to serve hundreds of buyers. In that situation, it was quite difficult for Arifin to find free time to chat. Not to mention the stock of sugar cane and ice cubes he brought had run out. Until you have to go home for a while to take stock again.

"Yes, I am a partner of MSME Chainsaw Buyback under Mas Agus," said Arifin at the start of the conversation which often stopped because he was serving buyers. Mas Agus, who Arifin refers to, is the ASRI Chainsaw Buyback Coordinator, one of ASRI's programs that helps former loggers access livelihoods that are more friendly to forest sustainability.

Arifin joined as an MSME partner in 2018 by handing over his sinso (tree cutting machine) to ASRI and replacing it with capital and business assistance. Since then he left his old profession as a logger and switched to becoming an MSME operator selling sugar cane ice.

ASRI realizes that cutting down forests has many negative impacts on nature conservation and human health, and hopes that society can continue to prosper without logging. Because of this, the Chainsaw Buyback program was born which helped these loggers change their livelihood to become MSMEs. It is hoped that the capital and business assistance provided by ASRI will become a better and safer economic source, as well as being friendlier to forest preservation.

Arifin is one of 270 former loggers who have given up their chainsaws and turned into MSMEs. He conveyed the good things he felt after stopping logging. Starting from feeling safe from threats because you don't need to go to the forest. He no longer needs to think about the risks of attacks by wild animals, being hit by felled trees, or even being caught by forest police. "Yes, the current job is better, because you no longer need to go all the way to the forest," he said.

 

However, he was once faced with doubts about whether his current job could guarantee his family's life and his children's education. This doubt emerged when his first child completed high school in 2021 and expressed a desire to continue to the next level. "I told the children, we don't have any money yet," said Arifin.

However, at that time his wife was very supportive of his son's wishes. The wife advised her child to register first, hoping that in the future there would be good fortune that could help her child go to college. After some time had passed after the family chatted about their child's college plans, news came that their child had been accepted at a private university (PTS) in Pontianak.

"Apart from being doubtful, I was also confused at that time between whether to be grateful or what. "What is clear is that I am worried that from selling sugar cane ice, I won't be able to pay for my children's college education," he said. To re-register his child, Arifin needs 4.2 million. This does not include the child's travel costs from Sukadana to Pontianak and other needs while studying.

But sugar cane ice brought blessings to his family. This moment coincided with Eid al-Adha and there was dangdutan inviting singers from the capital. Arifin decided to sell sugar cane ice there.

Arifin went down in the morning and came home at night. In the dangdutan festivities, more than a thousand glasses of sugar cane ice were finished. "Thank God, sales from morning to night earned more than 5 million. That's a blessing for my child to go to college, make him re-register. Actually, I didn't think I could get that much in a day. "I've only been selling sugar cane for 1 year at that time, and I've never gotten that much," he said.

This father of 2 children who lives in Sutera Village, Sukadana District, North Kayong Regency, said that his income from selling sugar cane ice is relatively stable. On normal days, he sells in the Pulau Datok Beach tourist area and sells an average of 50 glasses of sugar cane ice every day. Especially when there is a crowd around Sukadana which means he can sell 20 times more sugar cane ice than on normal days.

Arifin is now grateful for his decision several years ago to hand over his tree cutting machine and stop being a logger and become an MSME operator. He also expressed his gratitude for the capital assistance and assistance provided by ASRI to him to start a new livelihood that is more friendly to forest sustainability.

 

“Thank you ASRI for exchanging my senso for business capital. "Now I don't need to go to the forest, I can support my family and educate my children by selling sugar cane," he concluded.