An inspiring project set up by Aisyal Odist, a local Indonesian woman who's creativity and passion changed IBN Mataram, a riverside slum, into a caring community now working together to deal with pollution and poverty.
The Trash Bank (Bank Sampah) has 52 people working for the project on a daily basis, providing vital income for poor locals and that includes visually impaired women as well as other physically impaired ladies and children from different parts of Lombok.
The project works with 150 families in the immediate village and engages all people in the community from children in wheel chairs to old ladies who are mute. No one is excluded
The program, which is fondly referred to as "The Rainbow Village" was single handidly set up with no government funding or support now includes;
- community trash collecting.
- cleaning, separating and recycling all garbage.
- educating and teaching the community the importance of waste disposal as a business but also for hygiene and safety - no burning etc.
- cleaning up the river and the riverside where the village in located.
- a rubbish bank book for each family - the money is paid based on the garbage they collect and can be 'drawn' when needed for paying school fees, buying uniforms, covering debts or bills).
- food waste composting for local use and sale. they get 3000 IRP per bag and are doing proper fermentation to ensure no smell and to keep the quality of the fertilizer produced high.
- art and crafts from the non-sellable rubbish - bags, baskets, hats and many other items that are sold in some shops and hotels, a few people have helped export them to Australia and Germany to sell for a higher price to put the funds back into the project and to pay the people for the rubbish collection.
- community training courses.
- repairing and painting the whole river side village.
- music sessions and shows using instruments made from rubbish.
- Eco-bricks for building ((they get 1000 IRP for 3 full bottles).
- cleanest local shop competition.
- a guided walk in the community with a local guide.
- community areas that have been cleared to use for performances and shows, safe areas for the kids to play.
Khiri Reach, thanks to the generous donations from WeTravel, now supports the community with a much needed English teacher who provides free English lessons to the kids and grown ups in the project. At the cost of 120$Us per month (1.67million IDR) they are now able to improve their skills and raise their employability, opening up the chance for better wages and working conditions. This will also help them become local guides for the visitors that regularly come to see the transformation this riverside community has undergone, and they will be encouraged to share these opportunities to tell their own personal stories in addition to the Bank Sampah's.
The project's garden currently grows food for self use and some extra for sale on a small scale. They have also now started a small community garden which they need to keep the goats out of so have built for the 1st time a goat shed.
The inner court yard has 20 families living around it with 1 water well and 2 small toilets for all of them to use and share. The lack of proper running water and sanitation is apparent all over the river side village but they have been dealing with it as best they can themselves.
We would like to develop a new project to help these families in a beneficial yet practical way. "Green" Compost toilets and showers are an option to build that can be easily managed with the right training and initial funding. The water from the shower goes back into the system and all further damage to the river is avoided. The product after the fementation process can be used for their own food gardens or combined with the existing compost project and sold for profit.
This 'Rainbow village' is an inspiration and the set up can be easily replicated and done with other areas and communities. The way they are solving the garbage and waste problems, whilst earning a living and rebuilding their community is truly special in every way.