Generate Income & Hope From Non-Recyclable Garbage

by XSProject
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


New Sports Equipment
New Sports Equipment

July was the start of the new school year for the children who live at Jakarta’s landfills.  The week before school starts is an exciting time for the students, their parents and our XSProject volunteers. 

Backpacks needed to be  filled with books, paper and pencils. Small feet were measured for new shoes and every child was set to receive a new outfit for the first day of school. Once all these items were packed up, XSProject loaded up the car and drove to the Bantar Gebang landfill to deliver a package to each and every very excited child!

Between our generous donors and the proceeds from the sale of XSProject products, 48 children are now attending the 2013-14 school year. Forty of the children are in elementary school and 8 students are just starting middle school.

A few days before the first day of school, something quite extraordinary happened. One of Indonesia’s leading sports equipment manufacturers approached XSProject and offered to donate new sports equipment to the Wismilak School, the school that the landfill children attend.  With the help of Retno, XSProject’s General Manager, Wismilak School received all new footballs and badminton sets.The students could hardly wait for recess!

Sometimes generosity comes from unexpected places and in unforgettable ways. We know these students will not soon forget their first day of this school year!

Kids at the Jakarta landfill with school supplies
Kids at the Jakarta landfill with school supplies

June was a very busy month at XSProject. It was the end of the school year for the children from the Jakarta landfills, but we are already preparing for the 2013/2014 school year that begins this month (July).

Thanks to the donations from our generous supporters, XSProject will be able to send 48 kids from the Jakarta landfill back to school next month, for the entire year, with everything they need to excel in their studies.

Forty-one children are returning students and 7 are brand new students. Eight of the kids are entering Middle School and we are excited to be able to share their progress with you in the coming months.

In addition to backpacks filled with school supplies, our generous supporters and donors have also allowed XSProject to be able to pay for books, meals, exam fees, shoes and to cover additional expenses such as medical attention and field trips.

We at XSProject are so grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received this year. It allows us to reach out with new programs to the Jakarta trash picker community. Thank you very much.

JIS students make gifts for the landfill students
JIS students make gifts for the landfill students

Most of the schools are now on summer vacation, but XSProject has still been quite busy for the last 3 – 4 weeks helping individuals and groups of students finalizing their school projects. These projects are mainly related to social and environmental awareness and the involvement of the students has created greater awareness and new  funds for the  school needs of the trash picker’s children . Through their fund raising activities, the students were able to provide new shoes, school supplies and school bags for the children of the trash pickers for the upcoming school year .

In the new 2013 - 2014 school year, XSProject will be funding 3 new students in  Grade 1. Five students, whose education has been funded by XSProject, will be graduating from primary school and going to middle school. This is a big accomplishment for XSProject Scholarship Funds. We are so pleased that we are able to keep these kids in school. We are now getting more middle school students than we have ever.

Thank you again to all our donors for your generous donations. We are looking forward to growing our donor community so more children can continue their education and graduate. Putting the children of the landfill workers through school until they are able to have a better future is still our ultimate goal.

XS students receive new school supplies and shoes
XS students receive new school supplies and shoes



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Organization Information


Location: Cilandak Barat, Jakarta - Indonesia
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Karen McDaniels
Denton, Texas United States
$61,616 raised of $95,000 goal
671 donations
$33,384 to go
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