How Heri Changed His Job, His Life, and His Family

How Heri Changed His Job, His Life, and His Family

Sometimes you just know you can have a better life, a better job, and be a better example to your children and community.

That’s how it was with Pak Heri. Heri lives with his wife, 2 children, and a big extended family of trash pickers in Jakarta. Years ago, before the family moved to the garbage dump and Heri became a trash collector, he had a small food card and sold Mie Ayam (noodles and chicken) street food to earn a living. He always wanted to have his own food cart again – someday.
When XSProject and the Business Club at the Jakarta Intercultural School offered Pak Heri a micro-loan to build a food cart, he didn’t hesitate to accept. This was that opportunity to change his life that he had been hoping for.

In no time, Heri had his own food cart built.Heri & His Mie Ayam Food Cart

Today, Heri is still rising very early in the morning and collecting trash from a small number of homes. While he is out, his wife, Sani, cooks the Mie Ayam and stocks the cart with food. He’s home by 11:00AM to pick up the food cart and is on his way back out by 1:00 PM. He returns home around 9:00PM.

Heri is still not making enough money just from food cart sales to support his family, so he still collects trash to make ends meet. He wants to find a regular spot to park his cart so he can get regular customers and start to build and then expand his business.Heri & Sani With Their Mie Ayam Food Cart

At XSProject, we think Heri is on to something BIG That is why we invite you to help us with something LITTLE: A $10 donation to XSProject is all it takes to help a trash picker like Heri realize his dream of having a small business of his own, to have dignity and enough money to no longer be a trash picker.

One person, one moment, your donation and the gift of a lifetime of change. Little By Little, A Little Becomes A Lot and changes lives in a big way! Visit our XSCommunity page to give what you can today!

After a Late Start – Our Stars Shine Brightly

After a Late Start – Our Stars Shine Brightly

At XSProject, we make every effort to provide a complete K-12 education for the trash picker’s children. Breaking the generational cycle of picking trash in Jakarta is our mission and the earlier the children start, the greater their opportunities are.

But sometimes families arrive at the Cirendeu garbage dump with older children who have never attended school. The parents want their children to have an education, regardless of their age and XSProject is always looking for sponsors to help pay for the educational needs of older students.

Picture of Ardiansyah, Rina, and Fitriah Fitriah, Saroh, and Rina are three of our students, who got late starts with their education but are now shining brightly.

Fitriah, age 19 will graduate from high school this July. She is very aware that to succeed and to make her parents lives easier, she needs to do well in school. Sometimes she studies with her school friends at their homes. She enjoys track and Indonesian pop music. Twelfth Grade students must complete their homework on the computer. So Fitriah often stops at the internet café on her way home from school to finish and submit her assignments.

Saroh and Rina are both 17 years old and in the 10th grade. They both love their teachers, are eager learners and enjoy hanging out with their friends when they can. Their school is not near their homes so they take a motorcycle taxi each day to get to class on time. They both play on the school badminton team and enjoy listening to music, especially “Dangdut” (Indonesian pop music with origins from Hindustani, Malay, and Arabic music).

All three of our “Stars” attend school six days per week. On Sunday’s they help at home with cleaning the house and doing other chores. But school is where their friends and futures are. As Fitriah told us, “If XSProject had not helped me with school expenses and supplies (for) all these years, I probably would not have even finished elementary school”.

To support one of our Shining Stars, please consider making a donation here. Their education not only frees them from the cycle of poverty but also gives relief to the entire family.

Yuni’s Story

Yuni’s Story

Her name is Aryuni but she is called Yuni at the Cirendeu garbage dump in Jakarta where she lives.



When she was in middle school in her village far from Jakarta, she dreamed of a career in nursing, but her family did not have enough money to send her. Instead, her grandfather paid her tuition to attend a sewing school.



After graduation, Yuni worked at many garment factories in and around Jakarta. But, low wages, long hours and poor working conditions forced her to return to her village.



Several years later, Yuni married. With her husband, she returned to Jakarta to once more look for employment. She went back to work at a garment factory where she earned about $100 a month. With both Yuni and her husband working, it almost seemed they could make it…



Yuni is now 35 years old and has two children, both getting their education through the XSProject Education Program. Daughter Ariska is in the 8th Grade and son, Toufan is in kindergarten. Her husband is a trash picker.



Yuni

As the children got older, working the long hours at the garment factory far from their home was not good for the family. So Yuni left and went to work for a European designer. She spent her days sewing sequins on brocade gowns but her salary was only half of what she had made in the garment factory, about $50 a month.



She heard about XSProject’s Cirendeu Handicrafts program from other mothers at the Cirendeu dump community who were making jewelry and sewing small handicrafts for sale. Yuni joined the group in 2016 and is now making children’s dresses from batik fabric which XSProject sells on our US website. She makes alterations and household items such as curtains for local and expat customers.



Still, the work is not steady enough to have a regular income. Being the resourceful person she is, Yuni has tried to supplement her income by making and selling simple rice and noodle dishes at the schools in the morning and then sewing in the afternoon.



All of the young women and mothers working at Cirendeu Handicrafts would like to have a steady and better income. Sometimes they have a booth at the market to sell their jewelry and fabric wares.



If you would like to help Yuni grow her business by helping her purchase batik fabric and other supplies, or if you want to help the other young women or mothers of Cirendeu Handicrafts, please consider making a donation at on our Donate Today page. Even the smallest contribution has a profound impact on their success. Cirendeu Handicrafts is their business and what they need is a “hand up” toward self-sufficiency and a sustainable income.

Shayna Bell – Photographer

Shayna Bell – Photographer

This month, we introduce you to the beautiful photography of Shayna Bell. Shayna and her family recently moved to Jakarta from the US. Picture of Shayna's Children at the Cirendeu SchoolThe cover photo of this month’s XSNews is a tribute to her skill as a photographer and her compassion and love of children. Recently, she shared how she came to visit the Cirendeu trash picker community in this interview:

“I learned about Cirendeu and XSProject through JIS (Jakarta Intercultural School). I have 2 son’s that go to school there. We helped sponsor some children back in October, but I wanted to do more. I also wanted my children to be involved, and giving cash doesn’t have the same effect as physically seeing who you are helping. I sat down with my kids in November and we looked at (XSProject’s) website and talked about what we could do to help this community and school.

We decided that instead of spending money on the yearly Christmas card that we send to family and friends, we would use that money to buy books and snacks for the kids at the school. My boys helped choose the books (all in Bahasa!) and we made care snack packages with healthy food for the school kids. After getting a date to visit with Retno, we went with her and my kids distributed the goodies and read with the children for a while.

Picture of a Student & Teacher at the Cirendeu SchoolThe smiles on their faces were priceless!! They were so thankful and couldn’t wait to look at the new reading materials! It was such a great day and we learned so much-not only about XSProject but also about these communities and how they work. They really do need help!”

Visit Shayna’s website to see her beautiful work. We are so excited to be working with her!

An Outing to the Book Store

An Outing to the Book Store

Now that the Cirendeu Community library has been completed, the children of the trash pickers are coming regularly to read books. Most of the donated books are for Grades 1-4, which many  children have already read. It was clearly time for the older students to choose books that were more suitable to their age.

 

Gramedia is the “Barnes and Noble” of Jakarta. On a recent Saturday, XSProject’s General Manager, Retno Hapsari, took ten of the 5th and 6th grade students on an outing to Gramedia to choose books for the library.

 

They had never been to a bookstore before. First, they had lunch at the mall. Many of them had never been to a mall, either. At Gramedia, imagine their amazement at seeing so many books in one place; so many choices.

Students at the Book Store

It was overwhelming and hard to decide which one book each of them could take home. They chose carefully, trying to decide if their choice, when donated to the library would be interesting to other students, too. What big decisions for these young people, but in the end, each one was happy with his book selection.

 

XSProject plans to continue this program by taking fifteen 7th, 8th and 9th graders to Gramedia next month and eventually the 10th thru 12th grade students. Soon, the library will have a nice selection of books.

 

Through books, the trash picker’s children learn about the world, other cultures, begin to form dreams and goals and explore topics that shape their lives. By donating to XSProject, you will be able to support our purchase of more books for all students. Please consider making this gift that is sure to inspire these young people for many years.

Clean Water at Cirendeu Update

Clean Water at Cirendeu Update

In August, XSProject distributed more than 70 water filtration pots to the trash picker community.Picture of Mukhtar

Just as important as providing access to clean water for drinking and cooking has been the monitoring of the families use and care of the pots so far.

We wanted to get some feedback from the families on what they thought. While XSProject is doing our own monitoring to track the reduced need for medical treatment we also wanted to hear the comments from the adults and children.

So, with notebook and camera in hand, the XSProject staff went out to interview a few of the families. Everyone they interviewed said they were happy about not having to spend money on bottled water. Before this program, the purchase of “Aqua” had been a large expense that the families could not always afford on the $5.00 a day trash picker income.

As we had hoped, of the five families we interviewed, we learned that every family member is now drinking the filtered water and moms are cooking with it as well. Using the water filter pot and caring for the filter easy for everyone to do. Suwartono and his wife Aminah added that they actually even feel healthier. Picture of Aminah

The lack of clean water in Indonesia, and especially in Jakarta has recently been in the news. More than 37 million Indonesians lack access to clean water (water.org). Even the families that can afford to purchase bottled water through a supplier are seeing price increases.

XSProject can directly link the lack of clean water in the trash picker communities to the more than $9,000 we spend annually on their medical needs. In the 4 months since receiving the water filter pots, the medical bills have dropped significantly, with 2 months of no medical bills at all.

We want to expand this program in 2017. These simple but effective water filter pots cost $35 each. We hope our donor community will help us with funding to purchase an additional 20 water filter pots.

XSProject’s Annual Health Checkup

XSProject’s Annual Health Checkup for the Trash Picker Community

On September 4, XSProject once again partnered with Lestari Women and Children’s Hospital to conduct our annual Health Checkup for the trash picker families.

Seventy-four children and 35 adults received a complete checkup from the hospital nursing staff. For less than $5.00 each, every person received complete eye, ears, nose and throat exams. Despite urging from their wives, the men trash pickers are still fearful of doctors and medical clinics. Only one man came for the checkup.Child With TonsillitisTwenty-one adults and children received prescription glasses. There was one case of tonsillitis, many cases of chronic ear inflammation severe enough to cause deafness and several cases of cataracts.

These families make their homes at the open garbage dumps in Jakarta. Trash is typically burned which emits a constant flow of smoke. Methane from the rotting garbage hangs in the air they breathe daily and chemicals released from burning plastic, cause breathing problems.

Concern about the health of Jakarta’s trash picker community weighs on XSProject. In addition to the conditions the trash pickers live under, their diet has very little nutritional value and as a result, their health is fragile.

Until Jakarta’s “invisible” trash pickers can become “visible”, productive members of Indonesian society, their health and that of their children will continue to be tenuous and out of balance. Woman Getting Health CheckupThey rely on XSProject and we continue to offer vaccinations, treat chronic illnesses, pay for emergency treatment including surgery and provide eyeglasses and dental work. The donations you make to XSProject’s community programs at www.xsproject-usa.ngo sometimes goes to save a life, but more often pays for medicine to keep them healthy. Please help us continue our work with your donation to XSProject today.

A New School

A New School

More than 100 children have passed through the doors of XSProject’s Kindergarten in the last seven years. As the 2016 school year drew to a close last June, it was evident that the children needed a new classroom. The old building, located at the garbage dump, had fallen into disrepair. Rodents had taken up residence in the classroom that was perched perilously at the edge of a sewage creek.

Photo of The New School

Instead of investing in repairs it was our dream to find a better location for a new school and to construct a multi-use building. Our General Manager, Retno Hapsari, proposed a new building to the parents at trash picker community. They fully supported it and the search for the perfect location began.

Without funding, but believing in the generosity of our donors, XSProject began construction of a new building near the trash picker community but within safe walking distance for the children. Our goal was to have the building ready when the new school year began on July 18.

In addition to a kindergarten classroom, plans included a library and study area for the 90 elementary and middle school students and a workshop and gift shop in a vocational training center for young women and mothers. XSProject would need $5,000. With these plans and timeline, we had to secure the funds quickly.

But before we even let donors know of the plans, The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) said they would provide all the funding. This organization is the Voice of the Recycling Industry worldwide, with 1300 member companies in 4,000 locations including the US and 34 other countries.

As soon as the new building was finished, we moved the kindergarten in first, and on July 18, the 2016-2017 kindergarten class took up residence in their new classroom. Our teacher, Miss Vicky and her assistant Miss Anis have filled the room with everything a kindergarten class would want or need.

We’re waiting for tables, chairs and books for the library and study areas but overall the new building is a bright, cheerful place to learn and do homework. All of the students find this new location to be just the perfect place to hang out.

XSProject provides a K-12 education for trash picker’s children. This year we have more students than we have sponsors. When you sponsor a student, your donation, makes it possible for that child to break away from the poverty and stigma of trash picking. Together, we are breaking the generational cycle of poverty one child at a time. Why not honor a teacher you know with a donation?

Photo of The New School

The Best Gift: A Drink of Water

The Best Gift: A Drink of Water

Clean Water Project Group PhotoOver the years, as the size of the Cirendeu open garbage dump in Jakarta grew, the 7 wells, used by more than 100 trash picker families living there have become contaminated. For years the rotting garbage, with help from torrential rains and flooding, has been polluting their water supply.

These families wash, cook and drink the water from these wells. A simple skinned knee on a child becomes so infected medical treatment is required. Both adults and children have intestinal parasites. XSProject pays to treat these ailments as well as ringworm and hookworm. The cost to treat the illnesses that families get from the water has been rising every year.

Bringing clean water to this community has been XSProject’s goal. But it was not a simple task. Until we knew what contaminants were in the well water, we could not determine what level of filtration would make the water safe. It took more than six months of research, university and laboratory tests, collaboration with local water filtration companies and some very special folks at Rotary Clubs International before XSProject was able to locate the right water filtration method that every family would understand and want to use.

It was when the Jakarta Cilandak Rotary Club became so committed to this project, that progress toward a solution began. After reviewing the water tests and pursuing locally make products they purchased and donated 70 water pots and filters for the families. On July 30, their trucks delivered the water pots. With help from XSProject and the manufacturer, Richard S. and other members of the Cilandak Rotary Club taught the families on how to use and take care of their filtered water pot containers.

It was a very good day for everyone to have a drink of clear, thirst quenching water.

Photo of Ibu Salim Reciving a Water Filter

Back to School

Back to School

Retno Hapsari Inspiring the StudentsJuly is back to school month for Indonesian students. This is an especially exciting time for the children of Jakarta’s trash pickers who attend school under XSProject’s XSEducation program. We pledge to give a complete K-12 education to children living at the trash picker community.

Every child has the right to an education regardless of their social status. It is only through education that a child discovers who they are, aspire to be and develop their own intellectual identity. From these roots come successful and productive adults.

We invite you to be part of this amazing education program for Jakarta’s trash picker children by making a contribution to support one of our 85 students still looking for sponsorship.

This year, the 13 children from XSProject’s Kindergarten class are moving on to the First Grade. There are 9 new little ones who are just entering. Miss Vicky, their teacher and her assistant, Miss Anis, will guide and prepare them to be first graders next year.

Each year, General Manager Retno Hapsari and her staff purchase backpacks and shoes for each student. Back packs are stuffed with school supplies and other materials they will need to be thriving students.

Before the packages are distributed, Retno calls all the parents and students together for a conversation about making school friends, doing homework, school activities, and where to get help. Retno attends every parent teacher conference and parents are strongly encouraged to join her.

XSProject has more children this year than ever before. We have many bright and gifted students who still need sponsors. People who help children change lives every day. Won’t you be that person who will change a child’s life today?

Give Now or contact Karen at Karen@xsproject-usa.org for more information about our sponsorship programs.

First Grade Students and Parents

4th Grader Sofi With Shoes & Supplies Sheella and Miss Anis