Giving new life and hope from trash

I just met this amazing woman Retno, who is the Founder of a non for profit organization here in Jakarta. XSProject collects non recyclable waste such as soap refill bags, posters and banners, car seat upholstery rice bags; and turns them into useful items like shopping bags, toy boxes, make up bags, laptop covers, lunch cooler bags etc.

She employs people from the trash picking community and all of the profits go back into supporting the community through long term prosperity such as putting children into school, healthcare, farming and employment.

Like most people living here as expats, we can witness lots of poverty or heartbreaking situations and think to ourselves, how can I help? It is overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. I had this same feeling recently and this stopped me from doing anything. Until my friend posted a photo of herself visiting a community of trash pickers on her Facebook account. She is a school teacher at JIS and attended an excursion with her colleagues (JIS sponsors children from XS Project to attend school.)

Then an idea entered my mind. Every week I get together with a group of friends to have coffee and thought, there must be a way to collectively as a group, give back to the community. I asked my coffee group if they would be interested in sponsoring a child and give our weekly meetings a purpose. They were all very supportive and happy to help! And so I started taking a small donation of IDR 20k per attendee each week. With this money, we are now sponsoring two young children to go to school. IDR 20k isn’t a lot of money for us but it goes a very long way into improving the life of two young children in Jk who now can go to school, rather than picking rubbish to help support their parents.

So, as you can see, little gestures (and not much money) really do make a huge difference here. This is only one example of how you can help by giving back to the community. I’m sure with a little bit of thought and effort, you too can start to help out in many little ways.

If anyone is interested in helping out, please contact me. There are many ways to help, big or small. Alternatively, contact Retno directly at XSProject Jakarta. XSProject also have many beautiful and innovative products for sale. They make great Christmas gifts to friends back at home. Please see their website for more details or visit my Instagram account for photos XSProject instagram

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