Graduation Day at The Learning Farm
...No Garden is Without Weeds.
Last August, XSProject partnered with another GlobalGiving organization,The Learning Farm, to send 3 at risk teens from the Cirendeu open garbage dump in Jakarta to learn organic farming and how to run a small produce business.
What started with the dream of a “small” produce business is now a large scale program that has fostered education, independence and confidence in four young men.
But let’s start our story from the beginning.
These teens had little or no formal education, but they saw an opportunity to make a better life for themselves, their siblings and their trash picker parents. Leaving their families and community for the first time, for four months was a daunting decision. There were troubled times and tough times. One of the teens left after the first week and returned to a trash picker life. Learning to work the gardens, and to grow and harvest the produce was the hardest work they had ever done. On November 17, the two remaining boys graduated from The Learning Farm. Their proud mothers and siblings, joined by XSProject staff, attended the graduation, knowing their son’s and brothers had become young men with purpose.
Things never work out as planned at XSProject and this program was no different. After the ceremony the plan was for the two graduates to return to Jakarta. But two other graduates, Armand and Rudy, did not have enough money to return to their homes on remote Indonesian islands. So XSProject General Manager, Retno Hapsari, brought them back to Jakarta to start their new lives as organic farmers, too.
While the young men had been in training, XSProject had secured a plot of land near a local hospital that could be farmed when they returned. The hospital had already agreed to purchase the organic produce the young men would grow. They even donated the roof of the hospital for a hydroponics system for lettuce, kale and other leafy greens. Produce not purchased by the hospital daily would go to the 100+ families of the trash picker community.
The weeks since they have returned from The Learning Farm have been a whirlwind of activities including a tour of the soon-to-be gardens, laying out the garden plots, preparing a presentation for the hospital staff, finding an apartment for all of them and attending a day long workshop on hydroponic produce. They toured the XSProject offices and went shopping for tools, gloves and other items a good gardener would need.
Now they have started preparing the garden plots and the compost piles. Soon there will be greenhouses and a hydroponic system to build. Their evenings are spent pouring over seed books, planting seeds in paper pots and thinking about the future.
During his time at The Learning Farm, Armand developed a passion for bio-science. He has a big dream that is very real to him; to attend university, get a science degree and help his country alleviate hunger. I believe he might just achieve it, too!
Throughout this project, Retno and I have been asking ourselves, “Can we afford this?” Yes we can! It is made possible because our GlobalGiving donors are making it so. We cannot do this without you. XSProject invites all GlobalGiving Super Giving Hero’s to continue to be a part of this amazing story by making a donation.
On #Giving Tuesday and throughout the month of December, XSProject will be raising money to fund the Organic Garden program for 6 months, until the gardens are producing enough for the young men to earn their own money. Please help us give these former at risk teens a helping hand up towards a better future.
A Sweet Moment Between Mother and Son
Graduate, Andre with Diploma
Making a Business Plan
Presenting Their Program to Hospital Staff
Preparing the First Compost Bin