Fatimah (back row third right) speaking at a press conference as Kueh (left), Fidelis (at Fatimah’s right) and others look on.

DALAT: The partial lockdown from March to August was a blessing in disguise for a group of Melanau women terendak (big sunhat) makers here.

The restrictions under the movement control order (MCO) followed by conditional MCO and recovery MCO have enabled them to complete the targeted 183 units of the headgear.

The group of 14, dubbed as tapou (also referring to terendak) ladies of various ages, operated from a Melanau Terendak Centre at Kampung Tanam Seberang here.

They produced terendak of small, medium and large sizes as specified in the project, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of Sarawak Electricity Berhad (SEB).

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said all the 183 units of terendak would be used to decorate Bazarnita, a commercial centre for 32 women hawkers only, which is being implemented in Dalat bazaar.

“ Bazarnita is a manifestation of Melanau women’s hard-working spirit in their effort to increase families’ income towards better living,” she said at a press conference after visiting the Melanau Terendak Centre (Residence of Fidelis Michael) at Kampung Tanam Seberang here on Friday (Sept 18).

Fatimah, who is also Dalat assemblywoman added in the olden days Melanau women were known to be hard-working in supporting the families when their husbands were away from home working at timber camps.

She revealed that their hard-working spirit persisted until today as evident in their involvement in various economic activities, including entrepreneurship.

The minister was impressed with the high quality of terendak produced at the centre. According to her, the Melanau handicraft has transformed for the better.

Fatimah added a combination of young talents such as Fidelis, 34, and old talents such as his mother Julan Ajus, 62, had helped in enhancing the quality of the unique Melanau handicraft.

Dalat district officer Kueh Lei Poh also attended the event.