Generate Income & Hope From Non-Recyclable Garbage

by XSProject
Sewers with the new iPad Sling Bag
Sewers with the new iPad Sling Bag

Dear XSProject Partner,

Did you ever wonder how products are made in the emerging market world? Do you ever wonder who the individual is who made that product you bought and what their life is like? In this month’s letter, we thought we would share with you a bit about how we make XSProject products.

On March 11, XSProject offered our first in-house product training workshop. Led by our Product Developer, Gofur, the purpose of this one-day training was to teach the sewers to make a new product, define the processes needed to improve the quality of the products and to increase capacity while continuing to maintain that defined quality.

On this day, the challenge for the sewers was to make an iPad Sling Bag from scraps of automobile car seats. When they finished their proto-type bags, the bags were sent to the quality control trainees to review the production process as well as the final product, where changes and improvements were noted. In this way, everyone was involved in every step and understood the importance of their role in the total process.

Everyone attending the day long workshop was paid by XSProject. We plan to continue to hold these workshops each time there is a new product to be developed or if more training is needed. We encourage sewers who complete these workshops to start their own home based businesses. They will have opportunities to continue to work with XSProject to generate their income. In return, XSProject is able to offer greater variety and quantities of products to consumers.

The iPad Sling Bag was a request from the Singapore American School for their students. We are happy to report that they are very pleased with the quality and the style of their new bags.

XSProject uses non-recyclable trash such as plastic soap pouches, discarded billboards, advertising banners and automobile car seat fabric scraps to create consumer awareness about waste in our society. The products XSProject designs, makes and sells provides income to Jakarta’s trash pickers and employment to the people who wash the trash and to the sewers so they may be independent business owners in the future.

To see more of the products XSProject makes, go to

Making a bag from car seat fabric scraps
Making a bag from car seat fabric scraps
Sewing piping from an advertising banner
Sewing piping from an advertising banner
Thank You GlobalGiving Partners!
Thank You GlobalGiving Partners!


Dear GlobalGiving Partner,

Because of your generous donations, XSProject is excited to tell you that our project, Generate Income and Hope from Non-Recyclable Garbage is now fully funded. As our way of thanking you and expressing our sincere appreciation, we thought you’d like to know what we did with all your donations. So we are sharing with you today how your money was spent.

1. 30.7 tons of trash were purchased and removed from Jakarta’s waste stream and repurposed into 58,000 products that XSProject sold around the world.

2. The trash pickers who sold their non-biodegradable trash to XSProject were paid 2 times the market price for the trash, which provided nutritious meals and clean water to their families.

3. XSProject gave vocational training and work to 80 marginalized and otherwise unemployed people who now sew products from trash for XSProject. Having a structured work environment and a steady salary has dramatically changed the living standard of our team of washers and sewers.

4. XSProject funded the K-12 education of 60 children from the trash picker community. We believe that the best way to break the cycle of poverty is to educate the children. This changes the family dynamic and gives hope to trash pickers that they can move beyond their current condition.

5. XSProject’s General Manager, Retno Hapsari spoke about the trash picker community at countless schools, conventions and social gatherings in Indonesia. In her talks, she created awareness about the trash that consumers generate, often without realizing it, and the environmental effects it has on plants, animals, land, water and communities.

XSProject’s work is far from finished, however. We hope you will continue to be a partner with us so we can continue the work we have really just begun. The trash picker community is in desperate need of clean water, medical attention, better nutrition and expanded vocational training. If you can find it in your heart to make recurring donations, XSProject will put them to good use. Regardless of whether it’s a single donation or recurring, whatever the amount, a trash picker and his family will be forever grateful.

Please write us with your comments, questions and suggestions. We want to hear from you and we will reply to each and every E mail.

With gratitude,

Karen McDaniels, Project Leader -

Retno Hapsari, General Manager -

P.S. Are you wondering what happened to the work we did with the children? Please visit our NEW GlobalGiving project site: Give an Education to a Trash Picker’s Child. Project #16185.

Best Friends
Best Friends
Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, trash picker
Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, trash picker
The Mural of Children
The Mural of Children's Dreams Finished

In December, XSProject's product designer, Rinda and 14 other young designers from Jakarta painted a mural on the walls of the pre-school classroom at the Cirendeu Community Garbage Dump.

Equipped with donated paint, brushes and other materials, they brought to life "The Mural of Children's Dreams". The walls and roof of this classroom are constructed from cardboard, scraps of wood and salvaged metal, but they were soon transformed into an enchanting scene of children and animals, astronauts and an octopus.

The children watched the transformation with excitement and anticipation of their turn to paint. As they worked, the designers explained to the children that to love Nature and all living things means that we must take care of our Mother Earth and do what we can to preserve her for the future.

Then it was time for the children to each fill in their "dream box". With encouragement from the designers, they wrote about their hopes and dreams for the future.

The designers left one wall for the children to paint. In a short time, bright, happy pictures of clouds, rainbows, suns, moons, stars and angels emerged.

The Mural of Children's Dreams project is just one way that XSProject works with the children of Jakarta's trash picker community to encourage creativity and to get them thinking about what is possible in their lives. It was a magical day of sharing, teaching, encouraging and dreaming. Rinda and the other designers created a safe and happy place for the children to play and learn. Along the way, they connected with little hearts to foster hope and dreams.

The Children
The Children's Wall
Designers Helping the Children Paint
Designers Helping the Children Paint
Watching the Designers Paint the Wall
Watching the Designers Paint the Wall
Desti Lives with her Mother at the Jakarta Dump
Desti Lives with her Mother at the Jakarta Dump

This holiday season, XSProject is raising money to send 12 children from the Jakarta landfill community to the First Grade next year. Five-year-old Desti and 11 of her friends have been attending pre-school and are now eligible to enter Grade 1.   

It costs $116 per year to send a child to school in Jakarta. Because of your donations, XSProject is already supporting 32 elementary school and 14 middle school children. Our greatest reward is that these children, regardless of how difficult their lives, are dedicated to their studies and homework. They do not drop out of school but return each year to advance to the next grade. At some level, as young as they are, they know the importance of getting an education.

Please help us fund Desti's education next year as well as that of her other First Grade friends. You can make a $50 tax deductible donation to GlobalGiving's Gifts for Good program and XSProject will send you a great looking wine tote made by our sewing community from scraps of recycled car seat material and batik fabric. Or, any amount you choose to donate will go a long way to help XSProject provide education for these kids. Please use this link to help Desti and her friends:

Happy Holidays from all of us at XSProject and thank you for supporting the Jakarta trash picker community.

Education is the Only Way Out
Education is the Only Way Out
Preparing to make trash beautiful
Preparing to make trash beautiful

The XSProject office in Jakarta, Indonesia is where most of the training, designing and sewing of our products takes place. Our sewing community is extended beyond the office however, by the senior sewers who work at XSProject.  

Several times a year, XSProject’s senior sewers reach out to novice sewers in the community and invites them to attend sewing workshops at XSProject’s office. During these workshops, our senior sewers demonstrate how the trash is prepared and then turned into the beautiful shopping bags, totes and other items that we sell.  Once the workshop is completed, the community sewers are then able to make our products in their homes and under the direction of our senior sewers.

With the holiday season fast approaching, the XSProject office is humming with the sounds of the sewing machines making products to fill our customer orders. We are grateful that our community of sewers is able to help complete these orders, using the skills they learned in the workshops. This is why XSProject deeply believes that “Trash Transformed is Lives Changed".

Piecing bags together before sewing
Piecing bags together before sewing
Teaching the production process to new sewers
Teaching the production process to new sewers
The final products. Trash transformed!
The final products. Trash transformed!

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Organization Information


Location: Cilandak Barat, Jakarta - Indonesia
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Karen McDaniels
Denton, Texas United States
$60,607 raised of $95,000 goal
643 donations
$34,393 to go
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