Researcher working to change lives at dump

The landfill site in Indonesia

The landfill site in Indonesia - Credit: Archant

A former pupil from Abbey College, in Ramsey, has travelled more than 7,000 miles to help improve the lives of people living in Indonesia – at a landfill site covering more than 260 acres.

John Devlin with youngsters at the landfill site

John Devlin with youngsters at the landfill site - Credit: Archant

John Devlin, who also attended Somersham primary and junior schools, is currently working near the capital, Jakarta, where more than 3,000 families live and earn a living on the dump.

Known as Bantar Gebang, the site sees 8,000 tonnes of waste arrive everyday from the city, with poor housing and no sanitation nearby.

Now a PhD researcher with a university in Australia, John set up a charity to combat the conditions at the site – The Seeds of Bantar Gebang, to develop a community hub and educate children to find employment away from the landfill.

Since then, the charity has installed four toilets and showers, a rooftop classroom and decking, fans, a kitchen, and has set up English lessons.

But they need more money to start their first business on the dump, selling balms and candles.

Writing on the charity’s fundraising page, Mr Devlin said: “We now have a successful recipe locked down, a design for packaging and other branding, and a reliable supply chain of essential oils, waxes, oils, and containers.

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“All we need now is the seed money to get this operation up and running by purchasing sufficient stock and equipment, start training up our local team, signing up retail and hospitality partners to start selling our products, incorporating a legal entity, and building a small workshop.”

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