The XS team has been hard at work: adding to our product lines, seeking new distribution channels, and providing scholarships to more children.
Financially, the first months of 2011 have been a bit of a challenge. Due to the ongoing repercussions of the financial crisis, our sales were not as high this year as they were last year. Our distributors have been much more cautious in their ordering, which has impacted our sales. Thanks to the donations we have received through GlobalGiving, we are weathering the storm. Thank you all!!
Even though we have not generated the sales we had hoped for in the early months of this year, we are standing by our commitment to put 5% of all our revenues into a scholarship fund for trash picker children. That has enabled us to support another child at Peduli Anak. So we are now providing educational opportunities to 30 children, and completely supporting another 4!!! That is what it is ultimately about, after all.
XS has also launched a new website that encapsulates our goals of transforming trash and changing lives. You can visit our new site at www.xstransformed.org. While there, visit the Products tab. From here you can download, catalogues from all three of our product lines and you can watch a video that shows how our products are made. The new website provides a lot more information about our work, and the ways in which we are trying to positively impact the environment, local communities, and the trash pickers. We hope you take a look.
Thanks so much for your continued support.
During the past several months, XS has been developing new products. In the past, we always developed one catalogue, but now we have divided our products into three different lines – plastics, billboard, and carseat. The plastics line is our classic line. All the products are made from the plastic packaging that XS has always purchased directly from trash pickers. It is still a popular line. About two years ago, we started making products from used billboards. The use of that material has evolved and we now have a full line of billboard products. And now, thanks to donations from Mitsubishi, we also have a carseat line. You can see all the products we make in the attached catalogs.
The two full time designers that XS was able to hire, thanks to the help of people like you, were instrumental in the development of all our new products. With them, we have also been able to respond quickly to customers who are looking for custom designs. We think our new products will do well in the marketplace, and that will help us generate more income to support our scholarship programs.
Last month Retno Hapsari, our Operations Manager traveled to the Indonesian island of Lombok, where she visited three of the trash picker children that we are supporting. They are doing well, and really enjoyed meeting Retno. In addition to the children in Lombok that we are helping, XS is providing scholarships to a number of children in a trash picker community close to our offices. Since we have been having a bit more success with our new products, we are now thinking about additional ways that we can help the children of the community. We want our success to be their success.
We are excited about the progress that XS has been making, and we thank all of you for the generous support that is helpint to make our transformation possible!
Since our last report, XS has made progress. We are developing a new line of products and we are transitioning management to the local team. But more about those topics in a future post. This update is dedicated to Pak (Mr.) Salim, who was the leader of the original trashpicker community that XS worked with. Pak Salim has been part of XS since its earliest days.
Sadly, Pak Salim passed away last week. He was in his early 60s. Pak Salim did not die from a complicated disease. It was a hernia that killed him. Hernia surgery is one of the most common and safest operations performed in the United States. They are also a relatively inexpensive and safe operation in many developed countries. Unfortunately are not inexpensive for a poor person in a developing country like Indonesia. Pak Salim could not afford an operation, even though it was recommended. So his hernia went untreated.
When XS learned that Pak Salim was ill, the Jakarta team offered to cover the cost of his surgery. However, we got involved too late. Before there was time to find out more details about the required operation, Pak Salim passed away. He will be sadly missed by the team at XS as well as by his family and members of his community. It is not clear what will happen to the community as a result of his passing. Sometimes a new leader steps into place. Other times, the community dissolves and people find new homes in other trashpicker communities. Whatever the outcome for those left behind, this will be a period of transition and challenges. At XS, our thoughts are with all of them, particularly the children in this community that are beneficiaries of our scholarship program.
A series of 9 products that XS designed in partnership with KTB, Mitsubishi's Indonesian distributor, will be on sale at the International Motor Show that will be taking place in Jakarta from July 23rd to August 1st. More than 100,000 people are expected to visit the KTB booth where XS' products will be displayed. The products, which were made from waste materials provided by KTB-Mitsubishi, include laptop sleeves, a tote bag, and a multipurpose bin that holds water bottles, trash or other items.
This relationship is one of four partnerships that XS is building with international corporations to help them transform their trash into useful products. As always, a portion of XS' revenues from the sale of these items goes to the education of trash picker kids and to support the teams of local people who make all XS products.
Thanks to the generous support of our donors, XS has made enormous strides in the past 3 months. Since January of this year, we have produced over 5,000 products - all from non-biodegradable waste. With the revenues that we generated, we have been able to commit to the education, housing, and medical needs for 2 more children who had been earning their livings picking trash. Our commitment will support both of these young boys. We are now waiting to raise enough funds to commit to the support of a third child, which will bring our total to 24.
The picture on this site is of Putra. He is one of the two boys that we are now able to support thanks to donations through GlobalGiving. Putra's parents were divorced. No one knows where they are, so Putra was living with his grandmother in a 9 x 12 square foot house that was made of bamboo. His grandmother is very old and has no income. As a result, there was no money for schooling, so Putra dropped out. He started wandering the streets and picking trash. Putra and his grandmother also received food from their compassionate neighbors. Now he is in a wonderful boarding home with other children. He gets three full meals a day, and he goes to school. He can stay in the boarding home as long as he stays in school and as long as there is money to support him.
Our goal is to support all the children we help through their high school years, so they can have a more successful lives in the future.
The funds that we received have also allowed us to move away from a volunteer staff to some full-time permanent employees, which means that XS can begin to build institutional knowledge - a critical element of our growth. One of the people we hired was a sales manager to help us increase our ability to sell our products in Indonesia and abroad. This is very important for us as another goal is to become self-sufficient - supporting our environment and social activities through profits rather than grants.
Our sales effort was successful enough, that we hit our production capacity about one month ago. Now we are trying to find and train additional sewers so that we can increase the number of products we can make each month. This is a bit of a Catch-22 because we need additional funds to bring on the sewers, but without additional grants or sales, we cannot get the funds. So we are looking at innovative ways to bring in money while we gradually build our internal capacity.
We could not be in the position of growth and progress that we have achieved if it had not been for the donations made by people such as you. Thank you!
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Cilandak Barat - Jakarta,