XSProject would like to share this short story with you about the community of trash pickers in Jakarta. This story was written by Ms. Karina Husodo a student who is doing an intership this summer at XSProject.
The Reality Beyond the Bin By Karina Husodo. Jakarta, 29 July 2013
Beyond the tall skyscrapers of Jakarta lay mountains of trash piling in dumpsters. Indonesia produces 22.5 million tons of trash every year; 2.2 million of which is generated by Jakarta alone. We tend to act nonchalantly towards thefate of the waste we throw out.
In reality, much more energy is put into the process of clearing our waste than we realize. An estimated 450,000 men work as trash pickers in Jakarta by dragging a cart around neighborhoods. How much they earn everyday depends on the amount of trash they collect. Abdulkarim, who left his hometown forJakarta when he was only 12 years old, says he leaves for work at 8AM and arrives home by sundown. “I can’t guarantee how much trash I collect. Some days I can get 50kg other days I get only 30kg”, he explains, “With this kind of earning, eveneating is a blessing”.
Due to such great loads of trash produced each day, it is no surprise that trash picking has become a business. Just as in the office, trash picking has its career positions. Abdulkarim sits at the bottom of the pyramid as a door-to-door trash collector; while Wardi, 52, his boss sorts out reusable and recyclable trash to be sold to manufacturers. In addition to selling to corporations, Wardi also sells the sorted trash to XSProject, a nonprofit organization who reuses excess waste to make goods such as bags and wallets. Wardi also provides housing for his subordinates in exchange for buying the trash they collected at a cheap price. Plastic refill pouches are bought at the price of Rp 8,000 (US$ 0.78) per kilogram by XSProject.
Besides buying reusable materials from trash pickers, XSProject also funds their children’s education through XSEducation Scholarship Funds. “They are extremely happy in school,” Bibin, 29, a trash picker, claims, although his wife, Sutiyah, 31 admits that their daughter, Risma, 9, could use some help with her mathematics. She adds that her son “wants to be a doctor,” and that she wants her children to go to college. “My hope is for my children to do better than me… to go far in their education,” Bibin concludes.
Neglecting basic sanitation or even any boundaries with waste, trash pickers live gratefully with their families for what they have and continue to have high hopes for the future.
July was the start of the new school year for the children who live at Jakarta’s landfills. The week before school starts is an exciting time for the students, their parents and our XSProject volunteers. Backpacks needed to be filled with books, paper and pencils. Small feet were measured for new shoes and every child was set to receive a new outfit for the first day of school. Once all these items were packed up, XSProject loaded up the car and drove to the Bantar Gebang landfill to deliver a package to each and every very excited child! Between our generous donors and the proceeds from the sale of XSProject products, 48 children are now attending the 2013-14 school year. Forty of the children are in elementary school and 8 students are just starting middle school.
A few days before the first day of school, something quite extraordinary happened. One of Indonesia’s leading sports equipment manufacturers approached XSProject and offered to donate new sports equipment to the Wismilak School, the school that the landfill children attend. With the help of Retno, XSProject’s General Manager, Wismilak School received all new footballs and badminton sets.The students could hardly wait for recess!
Sometimes generosity comes from unexpected places and in unforgettable ways. We know these students will not soon forget their first day of this school year!
June was a very busy month at XSProject. It was the end of the school year for the children from the Jakarta landfills, but we are already preparing for the 2013/2014 school year that begins this month (July).
Thanks to the donations from our generous supporters, XSProject will be able to send 48 kids from the Jakarta landfill back to school next month, for the entire year, with everything they need to excel in their studies.
Forty-one children are returning students and 7 are brand new students. Eight of the kids are entering Middle School and we are excited to be able to share their progress with you in the coming months.
In addition to backpacks filled with school supplies, our generous supporters and donors have also allowed XSProject to be able to pay for books, meals, exam fees, shoes and to cover additional expenses such as medical attention and field trips.
We at XSProject are so grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received this year. It allows us to reach out with new programs to the Jakarta trash picker community. Thank you very much.