Providing Balinese with Provisions, Dignity, and Empowerment
Sponsored by Gaya Ceramic Arts Center; Gaya Ceramic and Design; Moksa Ubud and by now many many other individuals, businesses and companies from all over the world! Our reach is growing across the island and the globe!!
An updated description:
The world is reeling in the on-going fallout of COVID19. Everyone is searching to ascertain the way forward-- as businesses and as individuals, and then looking out to realize how vastly more devastating this pandemic has been for some. After being confronted with what it looks like on the ground here in Bali, we began supporting an exciting local initiative. That began in May and is still going strong now into the New Year!
The current reality here is stark: over 80% of Bali’s economy depends directly on tourism. The loss of jobs caused by the sudden and ongoing dearth of visitors is massive. There are no government programs to alleviate this kind of unemployment, especially since so many small, yet essential jobs, are not “official.” There is no telling when tourism will resume-- thus far, tourist visas have still not been authorized and the airport has yet to open to international flights. As most Balinese live paycheck to paycheck, many remain in jeopardy-- all the more so as the pandemic continues.
In considering how to support our direct community and the island at large, it has been an important factor to us that the solution be both sustainable and empowering. We wanted to support activity and action for the Balinese to take upon themselves, to benefit themselves and this beautiful island twofold-- for both the short and long term.
Brainchild of Janur Yasa, (Gaya Ceramic Arts Center CEO and co-owner of Moksa Restaurant), The Plastic Exchange was launched precisely in order to do just this. It was initially put to the test in a community where Yasa could really lead the project: his birthplace, the tiny village of Jangkahan in the Tabanan regency. By now it has spread to more than 200 villages across the island!
The concept is two-fold, very simple, and immediately effective. With donations from businesses and/or individuals, a large quantity of basic provisions is stocked (rice, cooking oil, eggs). Members of the community collect plastic rubbish from their home compounds, roads and rivers in their village, and bring their collections to the neighborhood “banjar” (meeting area) to be weighed. The plastic is valued by kg, and paid out in provisions. Thus, the village environment is cleaned and the villagers can earn their staple foods—a win-win.
The neighborhood group is responsible for sorting each person’s plastic by category and then weighing out their yield. The collector is given a receipt for the worth they have amassed which they trade in immediately to receive the equivalent compensation in food provisions. The plastic is collected en masse by "scavenger" coordinator, I Nyoman Adi Artana, brought to his sorting and compressing facility and then shipped to Java to be recycled into plastic pellets at industrial processing plants there.
A standardized accounting is followed by every neighborhood that engages, and follow up for transparency and trouble-shooting of any problems is carried out by the original volunteer team, appointed by Yasa. Thus, the initiative is a concept whose model can be multiplied and shared as many times over as there are willing banjars (neighborhoods) who organize themselves to participate. This is the kind of viral we all aspire to initiate!
The Plastic Exchange incentivizes local communities to organize and take action to improve their lives and surroundings in immediately appreciable ways. Implicit in this is a passive education that is achingly absent in formal schooling here: that of needing to dispose of plastics appropriately, the value of recycling, and the ability to create change from the inside out. The Plastic Exchange is actively re-shaping behavioral patterns and educating with both the volition and the enthusiasm of villagers young and old!
In Jangkahan, Yasa’s home village, enthusiasm was immediate. The plan went into action the morning after the very first meeting with the local youth group and the head of the village neighborhood. In a single day 200 kg of plastic was collected—in 17 days 2,600 kg (2,6 tons) plastic-- and to date (Dec. 2020): over 200,000 TONS!!!!!! Trouble-shooting various scenarios as they arose, they continue fine-tuning the idea, and have found terrific media coverage already in launching the concept to other communities.
The initiative is spreading like wildfire-- and the hope that our impact will be truly significant for the Balinese and the island of Bali only widens. We ask you to consider the ways that Bali has impacted your life and to join us in facilitating this extraordinary grassroots effort today.
Any amount is helpful—a kg of rice could feed a family of 4 for a day and costs only IDR 10,000 or USD $0.75 !!!
Thank you in advance for taking your own action to become involved. We continue to share the latest stats on this GoFundMe platform, on our website and through our social media accounts.
With an abundance of gratitude,
The Plastic Exchange team, Gaya Ceramic, Moksa Ubud, and all of Balihttps://nowbali.co.id/plastic-for-rice-providing-sustenance-by-keeping-bali-clean
- Claudia Linke
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