Graduation & A Future of Possibilities

Graduation & A Future of Possibilities

As the school year draws to a close in Indonesia, four Grade 12 students in the XSEducation program are preparing to graduate. Three students are hoping for a chance to attend college in September. To be accepted, they need to pass the exams. Then it’s all about choosing a college and studying hard.Picture of Tandi & Ardi

Ardiansyah (Ardi) and Rustandi (Tandi) are the first young men to graduate with the dream of furthering their education. Fifi is the only girl in our program graduating high school this year.

Ardi’s area of interest has always been in mechanics. In high school, he studied Industrial and Automotive Mechanics. By continuing this career path and receiving a diploma in this field, he has opportunities to find a career with one of many companies that support Indonesia’s economy through auto manufacturing and service as well as the $120 Billion oil, gas, mining energy sectors. He has high hopes to be accepted into a college program. For a young man who grew up at a garbage dump, his education and determination will pull, not only him but his entire family out of poverty.

Tandi took a completely different path in vocational school and studied Accounting. He will graduate with an Accounting certificate. If accepted to college, he is not sure if he wants to get a Diploma in Accounting or study Management. What he is sure of, is that he wants to work in the Accounting field while attending college to help defray some of his expenses and to help his mother.
Picture of Fifi & Any

Fifi’s mother, Saminah, works at XSProject. Children of XSProject employees attend school and have all their school fees paid for under the XSEducation program. Unlike Ardi and Tandi, Fifi did not attend a vocational school, but instead a high school that prepares students for college. She already sat for her college entrance exam and is now waiting with much excitement to know the results. Because her exams are on the school’s intranet, and most of her college studies will also require computing skills, she received her first laptop computer as her graduation present.

In addition to all of us at XSProject, our three graduates, Ardiansyah, Rustandi, and Fifi, want to extend a grateful and heartfelt Thank You to all our generous donors. It is because you care and contribute to XSProject, that these young people are breaking from the cycle of poverty and trash picking and are on their way to success and a great life.

If want to make a donation to help fund one of our students, please click here.

Become Awesome! Be a Math Wiz!

Become Awesome! Be a Math Wiz!

Ten years ago, XSProject’s vision was to send every trash pickers child to school. In those early days it was a struggle to convince the parents that the children should not be picking trash from the streets and that, with an education, the generational cycle of trash picking could be broken and the entire family would benefit.Students Working Together

It started with a simple kindergarten located at the Cirendeu garbage dump in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was a small room inside a building where the trash was sorted, baled, and stored until the recycle trucks could pick it up. In those days, volunteer mothers from the international schools in Jakarta would come to play with the children and read to them.

Some of the children went to school when their parents could afford to pay and as long as the child was not sick. These students did not attend on a regular basis, so their grades were poor and most dropped out to return to picking trash with their parents.

A very different picture of XSProject’s education program exists today. This year, more than 75 students are enrolled in Jakarta’s public school system, from elementary through college. Most of the middle and high school students have been in our program since the beginning. By providing social services, the students receive nutritional meals, regular health checkups, vaccinations, and vision exams. They are eager to learn, to get good grades, and make their families proud.Students Learning Math

Last year, XSProject added three young women enrolled in our XSCollege Scholarship program to the teaching staff at the recently built community building at the dump. They tutor 10 students in grades 2, 4, and 5 and use creative games and puzzles that challenge the children to work together to solve problems.

Learning basic math, algebra, and weights and measures are the hardest for elementary students. The teachers and tutors give extra attention to these subjects and encourage all the kids to work in teams to get the answers. Now, they look forward to doing their homework together under the guidance of the tutors.

The students just brought home their report cards. Where last semester they received “D’s”, this semester, the report cards are filled with B’s! The kids are so excited and motivated.

To all our donors, partners, and those of you who have purchased our products, to support the XSEducation program: We thank you and want you to know that your contributions have made this possible. We have a long way to go and we hope we can continue to count on your support.

XSProject Receives an Extraordinary Donation

XSProject Receives an Extraordinary Donation

Last November, our friends at GlobalGiving let us know that XSProject had been selected by their Project-of-the-Month Club to receive their December donation. If you don’t know about the Project-of-the-Month Club, it is a group of GlobalGiving donors who pool their donations and each month select a project to donate all that month’s money to. You can learn more about this at www.globalgiving.org.
Picture of Children in the Trash Picker Community

This community report is about the profound impact that pooled donations like this one have on non-profits like XSProject. We are immensely thankful for this $14,000 donation. In Indonesia, and especially at the trash picker communities, even $10.00 goes a very long way. But a big donation like this is a life changing event and can even be a lifesaving event.

The smoke from the fires at the Cirendeu garbage dump is toxic. Each inhale breath tastes like smoke. It burns the lungs and the eyes. You can’t see the methane produced by the rotting trash, but you know you’re breathing it. Sudden health expenses can be catastrophic for XSProject, and we never know when the health of a trash picker or a child can turn into an emergency trip to the hospital.

Picture of Burning Garbage in Jakarta

That is why for a long time, we have wanted to build a simple clinic at the dump. Nothing big or fancy but with the goal of preventing and/or monitoring some of the health conditions so common in trash picker communities. Having a nurse on site twice a week to monitor blood pressure and blood glucose, check heart rates, take temperatures, dispense aspirin, bandage skinned knees and know when an illness is serious enough that a trip to the doctor is required would be a true blessing. We also envision “our nurse” giving workshops to the women and young girls on diet, exercise, puberty, family planning, mother and infant health, and general guidelines for wellness.
Picture of Young Woman With Child in the Trash Picker Community

Thanks to the donors of GlobalGiving’s Project-of-the-Month Club, planning has begun for the clinic. This donation will support the clinic for three years. XSProject will be able to fund the clinic on its own after that. Thanks to all of you who make the work we do possible by your donations. Please watch this newsletter for news about the grand opening of the XSProject Cirendeu Clinic!

Photos by Verena Radulovic

Thank You XSProject USA Community!

Thank You XSProject USA Community!

All of us at XSProject Indonesia would like to thank our amazing US Community for your very generous support of our programs in 2017. So many thoughtful customers and donors have contributed in many ways to our social programs for the health and wellbeing of Jakarta’s trash pickers and their families, and to our XSEducation program.

Picture of Burning Garbage in Jakarta

Burning garbage at their homes creates vision and lung diseases among trash picker families. (photo by Vereba Radulovic)

Giving hope to disadvantaged individuals has many pathways and can even take a different route each day. People with food insecurities often do not make good decisions about what they eat. So, we fund nutritional meals and educate the families about making healthier food choices. We offer medical treatment for diabetes and it’s many symptoms. Breathing the smoke and methane from rotting garbage at the dump causes asthma and other respiratory illnesses, heart, and lung disease. This year, we have seen more cases of tuberculosis and lymphoma.

The most positive changes in the community are the result of educating the children. From K through 12 and now to the college level, the young people have the desire for a better life than their parents. Yet, the family unit is so strong that the reason the students work so hard in school and are hungry for knowledge is to be able to provide a worthy home and better living conditions for their parents.

Picture of Children Doing Activities at the Garbage Dump

Sunday afternoon activity at Cirendeu garbage dump. (photo by Vereba Radulovic)

Regardless of whether you make a donation to XSProject through our website, or you shop at our “on-line” store you have a direct impact on the lives of these families. XSProject is the support or “hand up” for them to get to a place where they can do for themselves. Poverty does not mean loss of dignity or laziness. It means lack of opportunity. We thank you for your past support and hope you will continue to support our work with these many families. You are making the difference for them.

Picture of 1st Grader Gilang in Class

First grader Gilang learns social skills in class.

Our biggest needs in 2018 are to cover the education costs of the children ($30,000/year or about $370/student) and the medical needs of the families including the children ($10,000/year). If you believe in the work we do, please stand with us by sharing our story and website with your friends and family.

To begin this new year, we offer our gracious thanks and sincere appreciation to all of you. If we could, we would give you each a big hug.

The Angels of Cirendeu

The Angels of Cirendeu

XSProject could not work at the trash picker community in Jakarta without a lot of help. This holiday season, as we celebrate family, life, and good will, we would like to tell you about The Angels of Cirendeu. Our “Angels” are trash picker women, mothers, wives, sisters, and cousins to the more than 500 men, women, and children who live at the Cirendeu open garbage dump.

Picture of The Angels of Cirendeu in the XSEducation Kindergarten Classroom.

Our Angels at the XSEducation Kindergarten Classroom.

Wati has been helping XSProject the longest. She has always helped distribute the money XSProject pays to assure the students have a seat in their classroom each semester. She registers the children, pays the school fees, and makes sure the children go to school each day.

Wati is the daughter of Pak (Mr.) and Ibu (Mrs.) Salim. Pak Salim, the head of the first trash picker community, approached XSProject ten years ago to ask for help to educate the children at the garbage dump. Since her father’s passing, Wati is XSProject’s liaison. If families need XSProject to help them, or if there is a problem in the community, Wati is their first point of contact.

Wati’s sister is Supena (Pena). There are so many children under XSProject’s XSEducation program now and they go to 7 different schools in the area. It is more work than Wati can do alone. So, along with Pena and two other Angels, Bedah and Aminah, Wati has help keeping track of which children go to what schools, what grades they are in as well as making payments to the schools. Bedah helps Wati prepare the list of expenses for the school needs so XSProject has the funds available when they are needed.

Some schools have fewer children attending from the community. In those cases, Wati or one of the other Angels will give the money to the parents to take to the school. Wati or Bedah then collect the receipts for the payments. This gives the parents the opportunity to see the school their children attend, to meet the teachers, and reinforces the importance of supporting their children’s education by making sure homework is completed and they have clean uniforms each day.

Picture of The Angels of Cirendeu

Loving Sisters and a Close Family.

Behah and Aminah are sisters. Bedah is the only one in the community who is a college graduate. She is the Librarian at the XSCommunity Center. She keeps the books organized, makes sure the students follow the library rules, are serious about their studies, do their homework, and assists our tutors three afternoons a week.

All four Angels prepare nutritious meals for the children. They help XSProject organize programs in the community such as health check-ups, vaccinations, and building homes or trash carts. If there are problems and/or concerns about an individual child, schools, health, family issues, that XSProject needs to address, all four ladies are always there to help XSProject find solutions.

If you ask General Manager Retno Hapsari how the Angels of Cirendeu help her, she will say, “Do they help me do my job better?
Now I have extra hands to make things run more smoothly at the community.”

The Angels of Cirendeu watch over the Cirendeu trash picker community with care and love for each other and their neighbors. XSProject and the Cirendeu trash pickers are rich in so many ways because of these lovely Angels.

Happy Holidays to all our supporters. Thank you for giving to XSProject in 2017.

An Afternoon at Cirendeu: Visiting with the Trash Pickers

An Afternoon at Cirendeu: Visiting with the Trash Pickers

In October, Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry hosted ten countries for the International E-Waste Management Network (IEMN) in Jakarta. Ministers and environmental experts from countries such as Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, and the US gathered to share and explore successful models and approaches to managing electronic waste in their respective countries.

Picture of a Woman Sorting Trash

She is Sorting Plastic Cups



While electronic waste was first and foremost on their agenda, photographer Verena Radulovic from the US took time from her schedule to visit XSProject’s workshop, General Manager, Retno Hapsari, and some of the families and students living in the trash picker community.



After a tour of the workshop where our employees make upcycled products from consumer waste, they went to the Cirendeu open dump. Retno explained that the trash pickers are an informal sector, doing what Jakarta’s consumers don’t do; sort their trash into what can be recycled and what gets taken to the garbage dump. Retno explained that, many Indonesians don’t want non-biodegradable/non-recyclable products in their country, but they feel helpless to work with companies that provide consumer product packaging which can neither be returned or recycled.

Picture of 2 Men Sorting Trash

Bags of Sorted Plastics Ready to be Sold

As they were walking through the community in the early afternoon, they came upon a trash picker who had been manually sorting mounds of plastic bottles since 4:00 AM. Retno shared that, if homeowners just separated their plastics, the hours he spent sorting could be reduced and he could use the time to sort other waste (even e-waste), increase his productivity and care for his family.



Our guest learned that trash pickers, like all of us, lead complicated lives. Because of their lack of education and their poverty, their struggles are often defined by decisions like should they take a sick child to the doctor or pick trash to feed the family that day?  As Verena Radulovic said, “They have a million odds stacked against them. We think we understand that they have a tough life. In fact, a trash picker’s life is really, really hard on so many levels.”

Picture of a Child at a Jakarta Garbage Dump

XSProject Educates Trash Picker’s Children



At XSProject, we continue to advocate for Jakarta’s half a million trash pickers with the government and conglomerates that continue to add to Jakarta’s pollution problems. Trash pickers cannot possibly keep up with the amount of waste Jakarta’s consumers throw away each day. At XSProject, we are encouraged by the Indonesian government’s efforts to clean up the environment, waterways, and air quality. Giving recycling jobs to trash pickers would help close the loop of poverty and reduce the amount of waste being deposited in Jakarta’s open garbage dumps. 



If you like this story, please share with your friends and family. By creating awareness about the lives of all trash pickers, we can be their voice and the voice that changes this system.

XSProject’s College Bound Students!

XSProject’s College Bound Students!

In September, two young women in XSProject’s XSEducation program began their first semester at college.

These young women each have a different and unique story. Fitriyah knew that without further education, she could not find a good job. On her own, she visited the college, completed the application for a scholarship and, against all odds, was awarded to partial 4 year scholarship. XSProject is committed to funding the remaining tuition that the scholarship will not cover.
Picture of Nurlela Tutoring StudentsNurlela knows firsthand how difficult it can be to find a job in Jakarta with just a high school education. After graduating, she wanted a job to help support her parents and two younger brothers. While a high school diploma is a huge step for a young person living in extreme poverty, Nurlela learned it only offered the most menial of occupations, making it impossible to improve her family’s condition.
Picture of Fitriyah Tutoring a StudentFitriyah and Nurlela join Sari, the first student to enter XSProject’s college program. She is in her third year working towards an Accounting degree. Sari has changed since attending college. She has become serious about her future, more dedicated, and responsible. Some of the older students at Cirendeu noticed this difference in Sari, but it was Fitriyah and Nurlela who saw the potential. Now they are model examples of success for students in the 2018 high school graduating class.

Not long ago, college was only a dream with no possibility for these girls from the trash picker community. Today, the XSCollege Scholarship Fund is making higher education a reality for youths wanting to study in STEM sciences and Nursing/Medical fields. Students in this program, must keep good grades and work part time for XSProject.
Picture of Sari Tutoring StudentsSince July, all three young women have been working as tutors in the XSEducation Program. Mentored by Miss. Vicky, XSProject’s Early Education teacher, Sari, Fitriyah, and Nurlela tutor the children, check homework, and are fast developing their own maturity, self-confidence, and sense of responsibility.

Please consider making a donation to the XSCollege Scholarship Fund with a one time or recurring monthly donation. Your contribution will provide funding for college degrees in STEM and the Nursing/Medical fields to exceptional students from the Cirendeu trash picker community. Click here to donate now!

When Things Go Wrong

When Things Go Wrong

The daily lives of Jakarta’s trash pickers are the same every day as they make their living picking through trash cans and dumpsters, sorting out anything they can sell just to feed their families. That is, until something goes wrong.
Picture of Sumiyati and Her FamilyIt’s only a matter of time before someone becomes sick. Living at a garbage dump, among the waste, smoke, and methane, illness can be life threatening and affects the whole family. This is what happened to Maran last month when his wife, Sumiyati was diagnosed with acute leukemia.

When she was finally too weak to care for her children, Sumiyati went to the doctor. She was immediately transferred to the large Fatmawati Hospital in Jakarta and given 3 blood transfusions – a total of 27 pints. She stayed in the hospital for two weeks and only Maran could visit her. Her sons waited outside the hospital room, too young to understand why their mother could not come home and take care of them.

Because Sumiyati and Maran’s two boys, Rahmat, who is in the 5th grade and Deden, in the 3rd grade attend school under XSProject, we soon heard about her condition. The baby, Eva, had been sent to live with Sumiyati’s parents in another part of the city because no one could care for her.

Maran does not understand what is happening to his wife. Because he is poor, uneducated, and the hospital bills are mounting, the doctors do not share much information with him. The hospital released Sumiyati with some medication to take daily and instructions to eat better to build up her strength.
Picture of Retno of XSProject With SumiyatiXSProject makes visits to their home to monitor Sumiyati’s condition. Aminah, a neighbor, has been preparing healthy meals until she can get her strength back. The boys continue to attend school but are confused and worried that their mother might die.

XSProject supports more than 100 trash picker families. The progress we have made delivering vaccinations, visits to the dentist and eye doctor, and educating the children to break the poverty cycle is largely the result of our incredibly generous donors.

Saving Sumiyati may be the single most important mission XSProject has undertaken. If you want to make a contribution to XSProject to help Maran, Sumiyati, and their family you can go to: https://xsproject-usa.org/shop/donate-today/xscommunity/

UPDATE: It is with profound sadness that we share with our XSProject community that on Sunday, September 10, Sumiyati passed away. She leaves her husband, Maran and three children.

Lessons About Recycling From Trash Pickers

Lessons About Recycling From Trash Pickers

Several times a year, XSProject conducts consumer education programs about Jakarta’s trash picker community. During these programs we introduce visitors, schools, and tour groups to what life is like living as a trash picker. The program includes a tour through the garbage dump, seeing the homes that are built on and from trash, and learning how trash picker families coax a meager living out of sorting through people’s trash to survive. The tour has a profound impact on visitors.

Picture of Retno Explaining How Products Are Made

XSProject General Manager, Retno Hapsari, Explains Making Products from Trash to a Tour Group.

Students from schools across Indonesia and Southeast Asia experience life at Jakarta’s Cirendeu garbage dump followed by a trip to XSProject’s workshop where they can help prepare non-biodegradable plastic trash brought to us by trash pickers. They learn how we wash and sort it and are encouraged to assist our employees in this process. Then, they get to see first-hand how the sewers create fun and functional new products that are sold to consumers to help support the Cirendeu community.

Picture of Young Visitors Washing Products.

Young visitors get a chance to wash and prepare the soap pouches before being made into products.

University and post-graduate students visit us as part of a school project or a journalism assignment. What they experience during their trip is expressed in their beautiful and compassionate stories, photos, artwork, and videos which they share with their friends and community when they return home.

Picture of Students Working In Cirendeu Garden

A Group of Students Volunteer to Work in the Cirendeu Garden.

No one speaks better about how trash affects people of poverty than the young mothers in our vocational training program, Cirendeu Handicrafts. These moms never pass up an invitation to sell their jewelry and fabric crafts at school bazaars and international clubs. They look forward to chatting with the public, explaining how they make their handicrafts, and share, with pride, stories about their children who attend school through XSProject’s XSEducation program.

Picture of Students Exploring Cirendeu Handicrafts Paper Beads

Students are fascinated the paper beads made into jewelry by the moms of Cirendeu Handicrafts.

Educating consumers to be mindful of what they purchase as well as what they throw away builds more environmentally conscious communities. If you have an opportunity to visit Jakarta, we hope you will make time to visit us at XSProject. Until then, we encourage everyone to make recycling a habit in your home and community.

Want to do more? You can also make a donation to XProject to help us continue to support Jakarta’s trash picker families, to share their stories, and to give them the tools to improve their lives.

Fitriah Graduates – What’s Next?

Fitriah Graduates – What’s Next?

In our April Newsletter, we featured three of our star students who continue to be star students.

This month we want to give you an update on 19-year-old Fitriah, who has just graduated from high school. She has been enrolled in our XSEducation Program since elementary school.Picture of Fitriah

It is common for the old students to want to go to work right after they graduate high school. When their parents are bringing home $5.00 a day (from picking trash) to feed the entire family, it’s natural for the older children to feel obligated to help their family.

Fitriah had to make that decision, too. After getting counseling from XSProject teacher, Miss Vicky, and talking to some college students, Fitriah did a pretty amazing thing. Though she never mentioned to us, or even to her parents, that she wanted to go to junior college, all by herself, she went to the college and applied for a scholarship. And, because she had good grades, she received a 3-year scholarship!Picture of Fitriah at Registration

College starts September 19. She will be taking classes to get her degree in Public Administration. With this degree, she can be an Office Supervisor, work in the Training or HR departments of a large company, or as the Office Manager in a smaller company.

We are looking for a very generous sponsor to pay the expenses that Fitriah’s scholarship doesn’t. Would you consider helping her? A sponsor can make a tax-deductible contribution to pay $4022 for all 3 years, or $1,340/year.

Fitriah is willing to work too. Miss Vicky has asked Fitriah to help her as a student teacher/tutor to the elementary school students each afternoon. Fitriah’s salary will cover her college incidentals – like cell phone charges and computer time to do homework at the internet café.

We know that Fitriah’s story has a profound impact on the other students from the trash picker community. They want that better education too, so they can find good jobs and be able to move their whole family away from Cirendeu garbage dump and out of poverty.

To help Fitriah, please make a donation to XSEducation.