Cricklewood binman establishes charity to help Indonesian refuse collectors

The Ramirez trust aims to improve working conditions for workers in Jakarta

A Cricklewood dustbin man has established a charity to improve the working conditions of Indonesian refuse collectors after stepping in their shoes for 10 days.

Wilbur Ramirez took over the round of Imam Syafii, a refuse collector and street sweeper in Jakarta, the capital city, to take part in BBC series Toughest Place In The World To Be A…

The father-of-four, who works for Hammersmith and Fulham Council, was so humbled by his experience he has set up the Ramirez Trust to help his fellow workers.

He said: “When I was on the plane coming home I couldn’t wait to see my wife and kids, but I also couldn’t stop thinking about Imam and his family, who I was leaving behind. I knew I had to do something.”

During his stay Mr Ramirez worked seven days a week, not only collecting rubbish but having to sweep the front of the houses and open and clear the storm drains, all in bare feet and without gloves.

In addition, his wages were so low he was forced to moonlight working into the night sorting recyclables (mostly plastic bottles and tins) from the rubbish pile to sell on for a little more cash.

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Mr Ramirez said: “I couldn’t believe how they live.

“Nobody has a toilet there, and there is just one cable which everybody gets their electricity from.

“I’ve seen countless rats during my daily work, but out there they are the size of rabbits.”

Mr Ramirez hopes the trust, which has been set up with the support of his employers Serco and the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), will raise enough funds to buy protective clothing and equipment for workers.

He said: “That is what I think they need. But it is really what they need that is important.”

In addition to helping out workers, Mr Ramirez will also being working alongside the Foundation For Mother & Child Health – a charity which has a base in Jakarta and was set up 12 years ago.

Anyone wishing to donate can send money to NatWest Bloomsbury Parr’s Sort code 30-30-06, Account: 90213319, Reference Wilbur Ramirez Charitable Trust (or) 76047710.

And any businesses who can help Mr Rameriz can email