Children
 Indonesia
Project #16185

Give An Education To A Trash Picker's Child

by XSProject
Vetted
Armand, Andre and Rudy
Armand, Andre and Rudy

In last December’s Project Report, we introduced you to three “at risk” young men, Andre, Armand and Rudy, who had just returned from a 100 day program at The Learning Farm (also a GlobalGiving partner) where they learned to grow organic produce, speak English, work on a computer and run a small business.

While they were gone, XSProject secured a plot of land for these young men to turn into an organic farm when they returned home.

This report is an update and the simple yet amazing story of how these three young men, raised in poverty, changed their lives, and found it in their hearts to “pay it forward” because GlobalGiving donors didn’t give up on them.

It’s a small plot of land. The soil was compacted, dry and rocky. It took the farmers several months and lots of composting and soil testing just to bring it back to life.  In the evenings they drew plans on what produce would be grown where on the farm. XSProject purchased a hydroponic tower for them.

Some seeds sprouted and died. They tried starting seedlings in paper pots. They built a greenhouse.  Soon they had leafy greens and beans. Then up came the tomatoes, corn and broccoli. They knew they were on their way.

Once the farm started to produce, they gave some of it to the Cirendeu trash picker community. Their friends were amazed at what they had accomplished.

But the young men wanted to do more. They wanted to share their knowledge; to educate their community about organic farming. 

They decided to invite the local elementary schools to visit their farm. The first school agreed…then the next and then another. It started with Grade 1 classes, then Grade 2 the next month and so forth. The children learned where their food came from, starting from seeds, how to plant and care for them so they would grow. How to make compost, how to tell when the produce is ready for picking and how delicious vegetables can taste when they’re picked right from the garden.

As of this writing, the XSProject Organic Farm is open for field trips and tours. Andre, Armand and Rudy love sharing their farm and educating us about nutrition and growing without pesticides.

What’s next?  They want to train other young men to be organic farmers. They want a second larger area to grow even more produce so they can become suppliers to restaurants. So XSProject is looking for another location and today, these young men have a business they can be proud of.   

Learning About Seeds
Learning About Seeds
Andre with a First Grader
Andre with a First Grader
Picking Produce at the Farm
Picking Produce at the Farm
A Future Farmer?
A Future Farmer?
Taking Some Greens Home to Mom
Taking Some Greens Home to Mom
Medications Are Just No Fun!
Medications Are Just No Fun!

This is the time of year XSProject begins planning the next school year for the children of Jakarta’s trash picker community.

The 2016/2017 year begins July 1. There will be 51 Elementary School, 17 Middle School and 12 Vocational/High School students. We are also welcoming 18 children into XSProject’s Kindergarten class. That’s a total of 98 students. Wow!

XSProject provides each child with six new school uniforms (one for each day), new shoes and socks, backpacks filled with school supplies and even new underwear! These are the necessities that their parents cannot afford to provide and why so many children of poverty never go to school in Indonesia even though school is “free”.

Not long ago, we realized that, while XSProject can provide what the children need to attend school, the greatest need is to assure these young people are healthy and able to follow the lessons. This means health check-ups, dental  and vision exams.  Because of their poor diets, and living conditions, most of the children already have cavities, hearing and vision difficulties before the First Grade..

In January, XSProject, with the help of Miss Vicky, our beloved Kindergarten teacher, took eight children to get eye exams.  Of the eight, five of the children need eyeglasses. The eye doctor also suggested that all (98) children should begin taking vitamin supplements containing antioxidants, Vitamin C, E, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids to support eye health.

XSProject already treats all the children for intestinal worms such as round, tape, toxacara and threadworms on a regular basis. Even though Miss Vicky continually instructs all the children about hygiene, when your home is on a garbage dump, it’s impossible to stay healthy.

A week after the eye exams, XSProject gathered all the children and mothers to hear Miss Vicky explain why and how to take both the vision and intestinal worm medications. To get everyone started, she personally administered the first doses to each and every child and told them to bring back the empty bottles to her so she can give them more.

GlobalGiving donors have been instrumental in helping XSProject make these programs possible. If you would like to be part of our XSProject community and help, a $30 donation will buy prescription eyeglasses for 2 students and a $25 donation will supply both vision and intestinal worm medications for 2 students.  

It takes a lot of love and care to break the generational cycle of trash picking. XSProject does this one child at a time.

With Mom at the Eye Doctor
With Mom at the Eye Doctor
Checking for the Right Prescription
Checking for the Right Prescription
Miss Vicky Instructs About Taking Medications
Miss Vicky Instructs About Taking Medications
A Little Help From Miss Vicky
A Little Help From Miss Vicky
Graduation Day at The Learning Farm
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
A Sweet Moment Between Mother and Son
Graduate, Andre with Diploma
Graduate, Andre with Diploma
Making a Business Plan
Making a Business Plan
Presenting Their Program to Hospital Staff
Presenting Their Program to Hospital Staff
Preparing the First Compost Bin
Preparing the First Compost Bin
Kindergarteners Akbar, Kirana, Zheefana and  Rika
Kindergarteners Akbar, Kirana, Zheefana and Rika

Do you remember your first trip to the doctor’s office? Do you remember how you felt? Were you anxious? Nervous?  Even with Mom there?

XSProject’s kindergarten teacher, Miss Vicky arranged to have her class of 12 pre-schooler’s take a field trip to RSIA Lestari Women and Children’s Clinic and Hospital to see what going to the doctor was all about. To make things even more fun, she invited their mothers to go along, too.

But Miss Vicky had a secret plan. This was going to be the very first health check up for the little kids from the Cirendeu open garbage dump and she wanted it to be a fun experience.

As adults, many trash pickers will not go to a doctor no matter how sick they are because they are afraid.

RSIA Lestari  has a special relationship with XSProject. Dr Titi, who owns the hospital and her staff take care of the Cirendeu trash picker community and send the bills, at a reduced rate, to XSProject.

When the Miss Vicky arrived at Lestari with the children and mothers, they were greeted by Dr. Maya and her three nurse assistants.  

It was a lot of fun to get their height measured and get weighed on the fancy scale! Then they got to sit on the big hospital beds to get their ears checked, stick out their tongues and say “AHHHH” and feel the cold stethoscope listening to their heart rates.

After all the excitement of the trip, and the attention of the nurses, it was time to have blood drawn and to receive vaccinations for Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Hib (the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among children under 5).

Suddenly this field trip wasn’t so fun anymore, even with mom right by their sides. But they were brave and tried hard not to cry as they got pinched and stuck in both arms!  On top of that, there was the humiliation of having to give the nurse a urine sample! Thank goodness that was the last thing Dr. Maya asked them to do!

Before they left, Dr. Titi and her team gave the children nutritional snacks and milk.

Some of the children were sick and could not get their vaccinations. So, Dr. Maya sent medicine home with their mothers,with instructions on how to administer it. They would have to come back the following week.

On October 28, Miss Vicky took her class and the mothers back to Lestari to learn the results of the children’s tests. All of the children are underweight and have nutritional deficiencies. Dr. Maya is scheduling x-rays for some of the children. Other children have hookworm. (Hookworm is caused by walking barefoot on contaminated soil like a garbage dump and causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue and anemia. The physical and cognitive growth of children can also be affected).

Miss Vicky and XSProject instruct both children and adults to always wear shoes. But in many cases, they have no shoes, just “flip flops”.

For $100, all 12 of these children received a complete heath check-up, their mothers learned how to keep their children healthy and our great GlobalGiving donors get to see the results of their donations through these adorable pictures.  XSProject is continually grateful for the wonderful GlobalGiving community. You are helping to save lives every day. Thank you.

Rika Gets Weighed
Rika Gets Weighed
Checking My Height
Checking My Height
Say "Ahhhhhh"!
Say "Ahhhhhh"!
Relaxed patient with Mom looking on
Relaxed patient with Mom looking on
The XSEducation Scholars
The XSEducation Scholars

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.

Rizal (center) with Arto (l) and Bachruddin (r)
Rizal (center) with Arto (l) and Bachruddin (r)
Rizal
Rizal's School Photo
 

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Organization Information

XSProject

Location: Cilandak Barat, Jakarta - Indonesia
Website: http:/​/​www.xsproject-id.org
Project Leader:
Karen McDaniels
Denton, Texas United States
$77,848 raised of $150,000 goal
 
262 donations
$72,152 to go
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