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Workers affected by pandemic stay afloat with side business

Jakarta Post - October 12, 2020

Jakarta – Spending the past seven months mostly at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people with the ability to find financial opportunities have turned the unlikely situation into income.

Nugroho Sigit Riyadi, a 37-year-old resident of Manggisan hamlet in Bantul regency, Yogyakarta, has used his free time at home to produce wooden-made push-bikes for little children with his own hands.

Nugroho named his product Pancal Bike (push-bike), which is suitable for children aged 1.5 years to 5 years old. Just like any push-bike, Nugroho's products are not equipped with pedals and chains.

Nugroho, who works at a silver jewelry shop in Kotagede, Yogyakarta, which currently applies limited working days for its employees because of the pandemic.

"When the pandemic hit the region, the shop decided to push down operational costs by limiting working hours. So, when I don't have to go to work, I work on the bikes," he said as reported by antaranews.com on Saturday.

A Pancal Bike costs between Rp 250,000 (US$16.98) and Rp 300,000. So far, Nugroho has sold up to 70 bikes, allowing him to earn up to Rp 3 million per month from the business.

In the meantime, Solikun, 39, immediately changed lanes to selling instant coffee on his bike as soon as he was laid off.

Solikun, who was busy attending customers in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, on Friday, said he never thought he would be able to make enough money on a daily basis, especially as he had a rocky start in March.

"I started off in March when the city began large-scale social restrictions. Those were hard times because I did not sell enough [coffee]. But nowadays, alhamdulillah [thank be to God], I'm doing pretty well," he said as quoted by kompas.id.

The coffee seller revealed that he earned between Rp 180,000 and Rp 200,000 daily. If he works nonstop for a whole month, he could earn up to Rp 6 million, which is twofold his previous salary.

Arif, 32, shared a similar situation with Solikun. He was laid off in July as his place of work was forced to take efficiency measures and Arif, who was an office boy, was among those who did not make the cut.

Despite receiving a severance pay of Rp 10 million after working there for 10 years, Arif said he decided to save the money.

Arif is still figuring out a suitable business for himself, but for now, he is doing well selling face masks. Before that, Arif made ends meet as a pak ogah (volunteer traffic attendant).

"I just started selling the masks two days ago. Yesterday, I had a Rp 30,000 profit. I'm still testing it out, before deciding on whether I will keep selling the masks or switch to other things," said Arif, who used to earn Rp 4.2 million a month as an office boy but is determined to become a seller instead of an employee. (nkn)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/10/12/workers-affected-by-pandemic-stay-afloat-with-side-business.html