Life, as they know it, would be unimaginable without trash and waste. This is the reality and legacy for many children in Bantargebang, Indonesia, coined as Indonesia’s biggest landfill.
Many families relocated to Bantargebang in search of better work and futures. Most end up picking and sorting through trash with their children in order to make ends meet.
In an environment void of guidance and educational enrichment, these children invariably end up as trash collectors, just as their parents were, because this is the world they know.
There’s been a glimmer of change since the establishment of TBI in 2012.
With Innovator Reading Garden, a network of small libraries providing books and reading classes for underprivileged kids, children are introduced to worlds outside of Bantargebang, allowing them to bear greater goals and ambitions.
One of TBI’s main approaches is to promote different activities and programs designed to foster reading habits. At the reading garden, reading is a currency.
In exchange for arts and crafts lessons or english classes, children have to “come 15 minutes early, pick up a book, read and summarize it”.
However, work at TBI is quite challenging. Teachers and volunteers at the TBI, predominantly women who have not received formal education themselves, work tirelessly to motivate students on their journeys to literacy.
TBI’s role is to foster sustainability in these libraries through economic support as well as training and program development. After a three year period, the ownership of these libraries is transferred into the hands of the local community.
Amid turbulent times, these libraries have become a home where children “can feel safe to explore their passions”.