Rizal is one of the 75 students who are in XSProject’s XSEducation program. In July, he entered Middle School (7th grade).
Before XSProject came to the garbage dump, the few children of trash pickers who went to school did not have good grades, so when they graduated from elementary school they could not go on to public middle school. Now, with the support of XSProject and their moms, students like Rizal, have higher expectations for themselves, strive to get good grades and work hard to be able to attend the public middle school.
It’s difficult to get accepted into Jakarta’s public schools. Seating is limited and students must have very good grades to be accepted. Parents rush to school the minute they learn that registration is open, to register their children for the new school year.
When Rizal’s mother, Mis, learned that the middle school registration was open, she and another mother, Ida, went quickly to the school to register their sons. When they arrived, the school staff told them they needed to pay IDR 600,000 ($50) that day or their sons would not get registered.
They didn't have the money that day and were very worried and disappointed. They called their friend Wati, who works with XSProject. Wati took them money from XSProject and Rizal and Ida’s son, Bachrudin, were soon successfully registered for the year.
When Mis and Ida returned home, XSProject General Manager, Retno Hapsari was waiting for them. They had not remembered that XSProject already promised to pay for all the children’s education, even in public middle school. When Mis heard this from Retno, she broke down to tears, sobbing as if a burden had lifted off her shoulders. She kept saying thank you and that she didn’t know what would have happened if there was no XSProject to help.
This is a simple but often repeated story of how much these mothers want their children to get an education so they can have a better life. In this case, it had a happy ending.
But the real story begins and ends with the generosity of GlobalGiving donors. There never would have been a story about how determined Rizal’s mother was to get him registered if it had not been for one donor’s $50 contribution to XSProject. Such a simple action made a profound difference. That donation changed Rizal and his family’s life.
Independence Day in Indonesia is celebrated on August 17. This year, for the first time, the Cirendeu trash picker community held their very own Independence Day festivities.
For just one day, the trash pickers don't go out on the streets of Jakarta picking through garbage cans and dumpsters. This is their day to have fun, play games, and be with family and community.
From early morning until late afternoon, regardless of age, everyone has a chance to participate. There were sack races for both big and little kids and even for the adults. Carrying the marble on a spoon race was very popular and so was the tug of war. What everybody was waiting for, though, was the daring 'panjat pinang' challenge for the dads.
The trash pickers who compete in panjat pinang try to climb the pole, which is covered with oil to make it slippery. The goal is to be the first to reach the top of the pole, grab the best prize and slide down. Their wives and children cheer them on. Every man gets a chance to show his family how strong and skillful he is.
After all the games were finished, all the food was eaten and everyone was “happy tired”, it was agreed this was the best Independence Day celebration ever... until next year.
Andre is one of the three teens, who are enrolled in the 4 month program at The Learning Farm, located just outside of Jakarta. Along with Riyan and Faisal, from the Cirendeu garbage dump in Jakarta, Andre will be learning organic farming and small business skills. By offering this program to the teens, XSProject is carrying forward its mission to break the generational cycle of trash picking, so rampant in Jakarta.
But Andre almost didn’t get enrolled in the program. Here is what happened and how the trash picker community came together to help him.
Andre lives with his brother and parents who are elderly and cannot work. They depend on him for everything from bringing them daily food and water to doing the chores they are no longer able to do.
Since he is already too old to go to school and with no education or opportunity to find work, he prowls the streets of Jakarta at night looking for ways to make money.
Last month, XSProject asked all three teens if they would like to attend a program to learn organic farming. With this skill and a small plot of land, they will be able to grow produce to sell in the market and help feed their families.
But when Andre told his parents that he wanted to study at The Learning Farm, they wouldn’t allow him to go. They were afraid that if he left, they would have no water or way to get food. Then, several families from the trash picker community spoke up and offered to help while Andre was gone. His parents finally agreed.
The first day of class is August 10. For the next 4 months, XSProject will be monitoring their progress and checking in with all the parents and sharing their son’s successes.
We are still raising funds to cover the cost of this program. Your contribution will help ensure that all three young men will return home in October with the skills to be independent, contributing, and responsible members of society.