This article is part of a mini-series featuring the work of journalism students from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) who travelled to Indonesia in November 2019 as part of the Australian government's New Colombo Plan Mobility scheme
Aleisha McLaren and Alana Riley
Yoki is the workshop manager at Ffrash, a volunteer-run social enterprise within KDM, a not-for-profit organisation just outside Jakarta that houses and educates former street children. The workshop aims to counter the negative stigma about street children and associates them with violence, theft and drug use. At the Ffrash workshop, children spend a year learning how to transform recycled goods into homewares like glasses, clocks, stools and lamps. They also develop work ethic and social skills, Yoki explains.
While Indonesia has faced global scrutiny for its management of waste and recycling, the mentors and interns at Ffrash featured in this photo essay, are empowering themselves within the waste economy and striving to better society.
Waxyu (18), Dodi (17) and Dion (16) are interns with the Ffrash program in 2019, working under Yoki’s guidance to source, make and sell the products.
As of 2018, according to Indonesia’s Ministry of Social Affairs, almost 17,000 children were living on the streets. But these numbers have slowly been dropping over the past few decades. There were 46,800 street children in 2005, almost double the current numbers, ministry figures show.
Yoki was a KDM student himself once, so he knows what it’s like to live on the streets and what, now as an educator, is needed to gain the trust of teenagers. ‘You need to be their friend,’ he said. ‘If I work as a manager to them, they won’t feel friendly.’