The story of a former scavenger couple who now owns a restaurant

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former scavengers

Having a stable financially household is certainly the dream of every couple. That hope seems to be starting to be felt by Riyadi and his wife Heni. This former scavenger who used to live stranded on the streets of the capital city is finally able to live a decent life with a better job, and now has a restaurant business. Curious, what is the story of the two?

The story of a former scavenger couple now owns a restaurant

Become a Scavenger with Very Minimal Income

Riyadi and Heni, a former scavenger couple. Source: Ministry of Social’s YouTube

Riyadi (62) is a man from Brebes Regency, while his wife, Heni (40), is originally from Bangka Belitung. The two husbands and wives had previously lived a fairly apprehensive domestic life.

Every day, Riyadi and Heni work as scavengers for used goods in the Kramat Raya area, Jakarta. The income earned is not certain, at most 70 thousand per day.

“If you say our income depends on goods. But if there are waste items such as bottles or plastic cups, it doesn’t necessarily reach above 100 thousand. At least 60-70 thousand per day,” said Riyadi, quoting from the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs YouTube show.

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Live and Live on the Streets

former scavengers Illustration

With a very minimal income, of course, it was difficult for Riyadi and Heni to meet their daily needs. Both were forced to live on the streets because they could not afford housing.

“We are the youngest, we live in Kenari on the side of the road in front of St. Joseph’s school,” said Yani.

Being able to sleep comfortably is like wishful thinking, which can only be imagined. How not, this couple every night can only sleep on used cardboard, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Metropolitan City.

Around the beginning of January 2021, the two couples were later found by the Minister of Social Affairs, Tri Rismaharini. At that time, Minister Risma was visiting scavengers and homeless people around Jakarta. Who would have thought, the meeting became a turning point for the small family of Riyadi and Heni to reorganize their lives.

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Undergoing Social Rehabilitation and Getting Training

The story of Haru, a former scavenger couple who now owns a restaurant Minister Risma when blusukan met scavengers and the homeless. Doc: Ministry of Social Affairs

The couple eventually underwent social rehabilitation. Both are also provided with various trainings to support their economy in the future. Meanwhile, Riyadi along with 14 other assisted scavengers, was escorted by Minister Risma to work at PT Waskita Karya (Persero) Tbk.

Risma also gave a message to Riyadi and his friends to work honestly and with discipline.

“The key is that friends must be honest, diligent, and disciplined. It’s difficult to get a job at this time. I’m sure your life will be better. It’s difficult and hard for sure, but we must believe that God can provide ease behind our difficulties,” he said quoted from

Meanwhile, Heni and other scavenger wives attended a training program at the Attention Creation Center. The program specifically aims to encourage scavenger wives and scavenger women to be economically empowered.

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Riyadi and Heni, former scavengers who are now living decently and owning a restaurant

The story of Haru, a former scavenger couple who now owns a restaurant Source: Ministry of Social’s YouTube

After undergoing a rehabilitation program and a series of trainings, now their lives are getting better. Riyadi himself earns IDR 4.8 million a month by working at Waskita Karya, while his wife manages a simple catfish pecel restaurant.

“Sometimes it’s 250 thousand when it’s busy, when it’s quiet it’s 100-150 at most. If it’s busy at 2 pm it’s closed,” said Heni.

Both also no longer live on the streets. This couple is no longer just thinking about making a living for their food needs, but also for the future of their children.


That’s the story of a former scavenger couple who can now live a better life and own a restaurant. Hopefully Riyadi and Heni’s journey can inspire Parents at home, yes.

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