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 ( 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 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 for more information about our sponsorship programs.

First Grade Students and Parents

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

Introducing Cirendeu Handicrafts

Introducing Cirendeu Handicrafts

Girl wearing Cirendeu Handicrafts dressAt XSProject, we are committed to supporting the young women and mothers in the Cirendeu community who want to earn their own income by gaining skills to start their own businesses.

Womanesia a club of students at the Jakarta Intercultural School, is leading a project that sent two mothers, Darni and Rokhana to sewing classes for the past 18 weeks.

They started as beginners and have now graduated from the advanced level class. They have already begun accepting orders for clothing and household items.

In May, Yuni, another mom, joined the group. She had been working as a sewer in a factory. She received so little salary she could not support her family. Now, by using her skills, she has opportunities to show and sell her ready to wear at bazaars and to acquire new customers. Thank you to Womanesia for their continued support by promoting and advertising in their international community for these mom’s.

Here in the US, Darni, Rokhana and now Yuni are the mothers who sew the Little Girl Dresses available for sale ($20 each) on our website. Sales from these dresses go directly back to these three women.
Karen With Cirendeu Handicrafts Group

In addition to Darni, Rokhana and Yuni, there are six other young women and mothers who are creating and making jewelry…from trash! These products will soon be available for purchase on our website.

Some great features of the jewelry are that all earring wires are hypo-allergenic, much of the jewelry is created using paper beads they make by hand from magazines, earrings and necklaces from plastic wrappers and discarded batik scraps and earrings made from the inner tubes of motorcycle tires. Sales from the jewelry go directly back to these mothers.

The women have decided to call their business Cirendeu Handicrafts. We hope you will support them with your purchase of their products on our website and at our conferences and trade shows. 
Cirendeu Handicrafts Group Picture

Let the Sun Empower the People – Solar Lamps for Students

Let the Sun Empower the People – Solar Lamps for Students

Retno and group of students with solar lampsTheir homes are barely 20 square feet, to house a family of five. There are no windows and the solitary light bulb doesn’t shed enough light to read by. The only other light in the home is from the television.

This is the environment that children in XSProject’s education program, who live at the Cirendeu garbage dump, struggle with every day. Once the sun goes down at about 6:00, doing homework and trying to study for a test is impossible. Many of the young people already have poor vision and wear eyeglasses.

When the organization, Future Without Poverty offered XSProject 20 personal solar lights for the students, we just couldn’t refuse. Made by Flexiway Solar Solutions, the lights can sit on a table, the floor, or even be hung. Retno with student and solar lamp
So, one Sunday afternoon last May, XSProject’s General Manager gathered twenty middle and high school students together to show them how to charge and use to their own personal solar lamps for studying and walking safely home from school when it is dark.

It took the students no time at all to learn to install the stand and operate the two brightness levels. There was a lot of excitement as Retno Hapsari handed each student his/her very own solar light.

There are still 54 students at the community who could benefit from having a personal solar light to study by. XSProject is not able to obtain more free of charge, but we can purchase them for $10 each. We think the benefits to the students is immeasurable.

Retno with student and solar lampYou can be part of this amazing program to help XSProject purchase 54 more solar lights, by making a $10 donation on line to XSProject today.

All donations of $10 in the month of June will be used to purchase solar lights for the remaining 54 students.
Students with solar lamps

Donated Eyeglass Frames

Donated Eyeglass Frames

By Retno Hapsari

Photo of Rokhanah wearing her eyeglassesIt started in April 2015 with Darni. As she began to learn more complicated skills in her sewing classes she had difficulty seeing small details. I told her to go get her eyes checked. New eyeglass frames are very expensive, but it just so happened that Noto, Darni’s husband, had found a pair of glasses when he was out picking trash. So Darni’s prescription lenses were popped into her “new” frames. Then she was very happy because she could see better and her new prescription glasses don’t give her a headache.

Soon after Darni received her eyeglasses, RSIA Lestari Women and Children’s Hospital and XSProject partnered to offer the first eye exams to all Cirendeu community, administered by Dr. Titi’s nurses. The adults who could not see clearly received free glasses from Dr. Titi.

But after a week the women stopped wearing their free glasses and began complaining of headaches as soon as they wore them. But Darni was still very happy with her prescription glasses. It was then that I understood the problem.

When Darni got her prescription glasses, she told me that she had to take them off when she was not in sewing class because she was embarrassed about being teased. Other moms would say things like: “Oh, you look like a successful women.” (translation: you don’t deserve to be a successful women because of who you are). I told her – forget about what other people say and just say ‘it’s ok’ – I also told her that she was the first person to understand the benefits of wearing glasses and to tell the other moms how her life is much easier now. Then everybody will want to wear the right glasses.

Then, when Samantha came last November to teach the moms how to make jewelry, it was actually an “eye opener” for the six members of the class when they realized they also needed glasses to be able to see the small details needed to make jewelry.

Last week Darni took three moms, to the same eye doctor she went to. Sutiah always had the worst eyes. Her prescription lenses were -10.

The frames, given to XSProject by our friends in the US saved us a lot of money since we didn’t have to buy new frames. Darni said that she was bargaining so hard for the lenses that she only paid Rp. 800.000 (($60.00) for the 3 pairs prescription glasses. I had given the bag with the frames from you all to Darni and the 3 moms so they could choose their own frames. You see in the pictures what Supena, Rokhanah and Sutiah chose.Photo of Supena and Sutiah wearing their eyeglasses

When Supena returned to the making jewelry class last Monday wearing her new glasses, and said that she could see so much better, the other moms are now thinking they need glasses too!

Sorry for the long story, please thank Tom, Diane, Tracy and Karen :) for donating the frames.

From the Generosity of Strangers – A New Family

From the Generosity of Strangers – A New Family

Photo of Endi and Mrs SalimThe trash pickers of Jakarta have very little money and few  possessions. But as I travel through the community during my visits, I have met some very  generous people. Not only do they share the little that they have but they freely open their hearts and homes to others even less fortunate than they are.

Thirty years ago, Endi was a 7 year old street kid in Jakarta. He had been living in an orphanage, and never knew his father. His mother visited him during holidays but could not take care of him. When she stopped visiting, he ran away. Endi survived on the streets of Jakarta working odd jobs for two years. When he was nine he met two other boys, Sapei and Sunardi. They felt sorry for Endi and convinced him to come home with them.

Home turned out to be the Cirendeu open garbage dump. Sapei and Sunardi were two of the eight children of Pak (Mr.) and Ibu (Mrs) Salim. A  big family already, yet he was welcomed as if he was their own child. The Salim’s were Endi’s first real family. Pak Salim taught him important things to survive in the world, just as he had taught his other sons.

One of the reasons why XSProject exists is because Pak Salim always regretted that he and his children never had an education. He wanted future generations of children to have an education so they would not grow up to follow their parents to the trash business. This was a promise XSProject made to Pak Salim before he died in 2010.

Today, Endi 37, is married to Munah, 26 and has three children. Fiki 7 and the oldest, attends the XSProject pre-school and will enter First Grade in July. Sila 5, will start pre-school soon and Rafhah the baby.
Photo of Endi and his family

Endi is a trash picker. He remains at Cirendeu, working with his brothers, selling recyclable materials to take care of his own family. But his children will never have to live that life. They will get a complete K-12 education through XSProject.

When Ibu Salim’s house was destroyed by the floods in 2014, Endi, Sapei, Sundari and the neighbors built a bigger and better house for his “mother”. While the family is strong and very close, Endi longs to one day find his birth mother, Luisawati. Since he was a young boy, he has saved every phone number and address of people who might know how to find her. He has not had luck yet, but does not give up hope, either.

As XSProject works in the trash picker community, we realize that every individual and every family has a story to tell; where they came from and how they got to Cirendeu. Breaking the generational cycle of trash picking and helping these families have a better quality of life is preparing them for a future when they will no longer have to live this way. At XSProject, though, we know the community and family bonds are strong and these can never be broken.

Photo of Endis Family

Jupri’s Story

Jupri’s Story

Picture of JupriPeople call me Jupri. My real name is Juju Juheri and I am 32 years old. I work at XSProject in Jakarta, Indonesia.I only have a middle school education. When my mother died, I had to quit school to make money for the family.

I started by directing cars where to park at a shopping center. I made money from tips doing that. I really love music so then I began playing guitar and singing on Jakarta’s streets. After that I became a construction worker, building houses in Jakarta. But things got bad and I had to find other work again.

One of my friends worked at XSProject as a sewer, making products from plastic trash. XSProject sells the products and with the money, helps the trash pickers. In 2005 I went there and Ibu (Mrs) Uni said I could have a job washing the trash. I made very little money but I liked the idea of helping the trash picker community in my small way.

I was a trash washer for two years. Then Ibu Uni said if I could also be a courier for XSProject, I could make more money. So I did.

Every day when my work was finished, I watched the sewers making the products. I watched for one whole year. One day, while the sewers were taking a break, I sat at one of the machines and taught myself how to make a plastic tote bag.

After the sewers were finished each day, I would sew some bags and earn extra money for each bag I made. After one year I stopped being a washer and became a full time sewer. This was good for me because the sewers got to live at the XSProject workshop for free. We only went home once a month. I was a sewer for six years.

Picture of where Juri learned to sewIn 2010 I married Erlina. Today we have a 4 year old daughter. But for now they live too far away for me to be with them, so I send money home instead.

There never was enough money and I was always looking for a way to make more. I watched other people working at XSProject using computers. I wanted to learn because I knew it was a way to a better life. So I watched…and soon I learned… I taught myself how to use Excel. It took a long time but I was patient. In 2014, Ibu Retno, XSProject’s General Manager asked me to be in charge of procurement, manage the raw materials and also the products the sewers made. I did not know how to do this, but I learned.

I like working for XSProject and seeing how we help the trash pickers and send their children to school. I feel good about my work but I miss my family a lot. When my daughter is old enough, XSProject will pay for her to go to school for 12 years. She will have a better life than me.

Some day I would like to have my own company that helps the poor, like XSProject does. I also dream of a balanced life. Right now I have to sacrifice for my future. I want to find a way to balance my family, work and my music. By the time I am 40, I want to have my life in balance and my family with me.

So that is about me. About Jupri. Thank you.