Generate Income & Hope From Non-Recyclable Garbage

by XSProject
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!
Learning My ABC
Learning My ABC's

Dear XSProject Donors,

Before everyone gets too busy with the upcoming holiday season, XSProject and the boys and girls at XSVillage
are sending this Thank You note  and video to all our GlobalGiving donors. Please click the link below to see the video.

The children would like you to know that you are all appreciated, not only because of your donations but because you care enough about educating children that you have done something about it by choosing to make a donation to XSProject.

2013 has been a breakthrough year for the children of XSProject. There are now 48 children from trash picker families getting an education. We started the onsite preschool with volunteer teachers. This allowed more children to enter the first grade this semester. Four students just entered Junior High School and one student is now in vocational school.

Your donations have made this possible and the students know that. They take their studies seriously because they don’t want to let you down. The fact that they live in extreme poverty with hazardous waste around them only makes them more determined. Through your donation, they have a glimpse of a better kind of life and a dream of reaching  that life.  Thank you.


Retno Hapsari Tells JIS Peduli about XSProject
Retno Hapsari Tells JIS Peduli about XSProject

XSProject is fortunate to be connected with a special group of volunteers in Jakarta. This monthly report is about those volunteers and the role they play helping the children of the Jakarta trash picking community.

On September 10, XSProject was invited to a gathering hosted by JIS Peduli. A group of expat moms, whose  children are attending the Jakarta International School (JIS),  wanted to do volunteer work so they formed this group. The September gathering was to introduce the new expat moms to the programs that JIS Peduli supports and to encourage them to get involved.

XSProject General Manager, Retno Hapsari explained to the group how JIS Peduli volunteers work with the students who live at XSVillage, the garbage dump in Jakarta.  She explained that, in order for Indonesian children to enter First Grade, they must be able to count and know their “ABC’s”.  The volunteers from JIS Peduli prepare the
children for school and create confidence and excitement about attending. When the older boys and girls, who already attend school, work with the volunteers, they have an incentive to stay in school and do well in their studies.

The moms who were interested in joining JIS Peduli were then invited to attend the pre-school class at XSVillage that day.  When they arrived the children were doing writing lessons, learning games and some crafts. Later in the morning the First and Second Grade students arrived from school and joined in the activities. All together there were about 30 children.

Without these classes, the children would not be prepared to enter school because their parents cannot pay to send them to pre-school.  Bringing the “pre-school” to XSVillage, and with the support of the volunteers, the children are well prepared to enter First Grade.

The volunteers who work with XSproject prepare and pay for all the materials for the students. The classes are held, twice a week for two hours.

Through donations (such as yours through GlobalGiving), the XSEducation Scholarship Fund pays to send the
children from XSVillage to school each year. As the little ones enter school, the number of students grows.  The goal
of XSProject is to give every child of a trash picker family a complete education and an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. The volunteers at JIS Peduli make sure the pre-schooler's get off to a great start.

The XSProject team appreciates and thanks all our GlobalGiving donors.  There is a child at XSVillage today
whose life is changed by the programs XSProject funds with your donations and by the of the  volunteers of JIS Peduli. 

XSVillage Pre-Schoolers with JIS Peduli Volunteers
XSVillage Pre-Schoolers with JIS Peduli Volunteers
Pre-Schooler Now-Tomorrow Graduating Class of 2025
Pre-Schooler Now-Tomorrow Graduating Class of 2025
A trash picker child with her "travel snack pack"
A trash picker child with her "travel snack pack"

The Islamic holy month of Ramadhan ended with the celebration of Idul Fitri, also known as Lebaran. The  trash picker families that XSProject supports prepared to return to their villages in time to celebrate this  holiday with grandparents, parents and other relatives on August 8 and 9.

Many of Jakarta’s trash pickers came to Jakarta looking for better sources of income. They are not residents of Jakarta and as such, are without Jakarta ID cards and receive little if any health or social welfare benefits. Without help from XSProject, these families would not be able to make this journey “home”.

On August 1, all 48 students under the XSProject Education Fund received a travel bag with juice and snacks and some small money (which is customary during Lebaran celebration) to take with them on the bus back to their villages.  All the mothers of the students, plus 15 additional women-in-need received gift bags of snacks as well
as coffee, tea and sugar to take to their families in the villages.

The children travel to their villages by bus, but their parents go by motorcycle, which costs less.  All this temporary migration requires a large amount of transportation for the travelers until they depart. Then the
bustling, busy city of Jakarta becomes quite quiet for a few days.

By the time you read this, our trash picker community will have returned from their villages and resumed their lives. Our students are back in school and next month, XSProject will report on the activities of the students.

Again, thank you to our many donors who make our work possible. We hope you enjoy our reports and are able to share them with your friends and family.

With gratitude,

Retno Hapsari, General Manager
Karen McDaniels, Project Leader

Preparing to take the bus to the family village
Preparing to take the bus to the family village
Trash Pickers Return Home
Trash Pickers Return Home

Hello Friends,

XSProject would like to share this short story with you about the community of trash pickers in Jakarta. This story was written by Ms. Karina Husodo a student who is doing an intership this summer at XSProject.

                          The Reality Beyond the Bin   By Karina Husodo. Jakarta, 29 July 2013

Beyond the tall skyscrapers of Jakarta lay mountains of trash piling in dumpsters. Indonesia produces 22.5 million tons of trash every year; 2.2 million of which is generated by Jakarta alone. We tend to act nonchalantly towards the
fate of the waste we throw out.

In reality, much more energy is put into the process of clearing our waste than we realize. An estimated 450,000 men work as trash pickers in Jakarta by dragging a cart around neighborhoods. How much they earn everyday depends on the amount of trash they collect. Abdulkarim, who left his hometown forJakarta when he was only 12 years old, says he leaves for work at 8AM and arrives home by sundown. “I can’t guarantee how much trash I collect. Some days I can get 50kg other days I get only 30kg”, he explains, “With this kind of earning, even
eating is a blessing”.

Due to such great loads of trash produced each day, it is no surprise that trash picking has become a business. Just as in the office, trash picking has its career positions. Abdulkarim sits at the bottom of the pyramid as a door-to-door trash collector; while Wardi, 52, his boss sorts out reusable and recyclable trash to be sold to manufacturers. In addition to selling to corporations, Wardi also sells the sorted trash to XSProject, a nonprofit organization who reuses excess waste to make goods such as bags and wallets. Wardi also provides housing for his subordinates in exchange for buying the trash they collected at a cheap price. Plastic refill pouches are bought at the price of Rp 8,000 (US$ 0.78) per kilogram by XSProject.

Besides buying reusable materials from trash pickers, XSProject also funds their children’s education through XSEducation Scholarship Funds. “They are extremely happy in school,” Bibin, 29, a trash picker, claims, although his wife, Sutiyah, 31 admits that their daughter, Risma, 9, could use some help with her mathematics. She adds that her son “wants to be a doctor,” and that she wants her children to go to college. “My hope is for my children to do better than me… to go far in their education,” Bibin concludes.

Neglecting basic sanitation or even any boundaries with waste, trash pickers live gratefully with their families for what they have and continue to have high hopes for the future.

Picking Through Trash
Picking Through Trash
What We Throw Away
What We Throw Away



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Organization Information


Location: Cilandak Barat, Jakarta - Indonesia
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Karen McDaniels
Denton, Texas United States
$60,920 raised of $95,000 goal
657 donations
$34,080 to go
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