Giving Back to Bali this Christmas Season

Bali Festive Season | Written By, Life on the Island |

Amidst frenzied feasts and functions, familiar faces, and festive decor, let’s not forget about the true spirit of the Christmas season. Giving!

There are many ways to lend a helping hand here in Bali, a last good dead for the year, if you will. Giving back to the community on the island is a simple way for you to touch the lives of many. Here we share some superb charities and organisations that you can help this Christmas season.

The Gift of Sight

John Fawcett first stepped foot on Bali in pursuit of a retreat after a life in the hospital. Little did he know, his newfound home would grow into a base camp for Bali’s needlessly blind. Blindness prevention and cataract surgery is an ongoing issue in Indonesia, with countless people still lacking access to basic healthcare. A staggering figure of 4 million people are blind and over eight million visually impaired. These numbers are unnecessarily high; why ‘unnecessary’? Because this is easily preventable.

The John Fawcett Foundation (JFF) was established to eradicate blindness in the villages of Bali, through their Sight Restoration and Blindness Prevention Project, offering cataract surgery, prosthetic eyes, corrective surgery for children, and more. In 2010 onwards, the foundation successfully expanded, reaching economically disadvantaged people in more remote corners of Indonesia.

How you can support: JFF widely receives support from health experts around the globe who are crucial to their humanitarian work. Many international and local volunteers donate their professional time to teach, diagnose, operate, and assist in the medical initiatives run by JFF from ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, to neurosurgeons. They also receive tremendous support from individual sponsors and organisations who share their vision and contribute to their work. In their words, ‘Make a donation and you’ll soon forget about it. But they’ll remember it for the rest of their lives.’ The doors at JFF are open to professional volunteers and any form of support. If you know anyone in need of medical assistance, visit the Sanur office or contact [email protected]. To make a donation, visit https://johnfawcett.org/donate-now/.

The John Fawcett Foundation

Jalan Pengembak 16, Blanjong, Sanur
+62 361 270 812
www.johnfawcett.org

Empower Balinese Women

A strong patriarchal system still exists in Indonesian societies, most prevalent in far-flung, rural villages. In some parts of Bali, families traditionally favour sons over daughters, which manifests as young girls staying at home whilst their male counterparts are encouraged to pursue education and high-paying jobs, making them breadwinners of the future. Whilst families focus their investment on their sons, Bali WISE believes that it is by educating women the cycle of poverty can be broken; one study showed that women only use up to 40% of their wages for themselves, whilst they dedicate the rest to their family. They are also more likely to share knowledge to relatives and friends. Founded in 2007 by the ROLE Foundation, Bali WISE (Women of Indonesia Skills Education) believes that with a ‘nurturing’ nature, women can break the poverty cycle through skills education. For free, marginalised women from all over Indonesia can apply to a three-month ‘basic skills education’ programme (English, hospitality, computer, etc) or a three-month vocational training with five-star hotels and other on-the-job opportunities. 87% of Bali WISE graduates are employed within a month after the programme. The long-term result is a strong women workforce, who become breadwinners for their families.

How you can support: Single or regular donation to help support the living and study costs of economically disadvantaged women in Indonesia. Apply to volunteer, intern, or fundraise and you’ll get to help with some day-to-day work and contribute to women’s empowerment and gender equality! Or, ‘Sponsor a Student’ and provide them with access to life-saving basic skills, vocational training, and environmental awareness. Contact Fena Evans at [email protected] or +62 812 3969 3383 for more information.

Bali WISE Campus

Jalan Siligita 22, Nusa Dua
+62 361 4771657
www.baliwise.org

Waste Not, Want Not

Over one million meals go to waste every month in Southeast Asia, and 25% of the global fresh water supply is used to grow food that is never eaten. To reduce the quantity of discarded food rotting in landfills, Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) rescues and redistributes perfectly edible food from retails to underprivileged people. Many commercial establishments have imposed a rule that justifies binning surplus food, not allowing it to go to the needy or for employees to take home; this lead to the birth of SOS Global in 2012 and their Food Rescue Programme. With the help of donors and a motivated team, SOS rescues up to one ton of edible food every single day in Bali and Bangkok. They take untouched, edible food from establishments, have it checked by a food hygienist, and then deliver truck loads of food to those in-need, such as orphanages or rural communities. Based on cost of operations, each rescued meal-equivalent represents a cost of USD 0.25, meaning every dollar you donate yields four meals and with USD 10, you will feed 40 people!

How you can support: SOS Bali is receiving and open for food donations from resorts, hotels, and restaurants across the island. If you are in the food and beverage industry, you can partner up or create a CSR programme with them. You’ll work together with the team to make ‘big changes’ in both food scarcity and environmental issues through campaigns and other green projects. If you and your business would like to donate excess food or become a sponsor, contact Katerina Kopchenova at [email protected] or +62 812 3923 6566. SOS wants you to spread the word out until there is no more food wasted in Bali!

Scholars of Sustenance

Jalan Pararaton No.9E Dewi Sri, Kuta
+62 821 4747 7234
www.scholarsofsustenance.com

Protect the World’s Second Rarest Bird

Did you know Bali is home to the world’s second rarest bird? The Bali Starling (jalak Bali) is endemic to the island and recognised as a critically endangered species due to illegal poaching that still exists to date. Reportedly, there are less than 100 Bali Starlings left in the wild. The Begawan Foundation hosts a Breeding and Release Centre in Melinggih Kelod, where their conservation efforts are conducted; their focus is on increasing the number of Bali Starlings in their natural habitat. Their work is done through breeding programmes, observation, and education. Volunteering at Begawan Foundation means you’re actively involved in the efforts to save Indonesia’s wildlife.

How you can support: At the Centre, volunteers will work with Bird Keepers with daily husbandry, with food preparation and feeding, conducted twice daily for indigenous birds. During breeding season, you may work directly with the animals, including feeding orphaned chicks in the incubator and constructing nest boxes placed in the breeding enclosures. Outside the Centre, volunteers are the eyes and ears in the community and you’ll receive training on monitoring procedures to ensure the safety of wild Bali Starlings in the area and discourage poaching. Lastly, volunteers may be asked to assist Begawan Foundation’s ‘Learning by Doing’ education programme at their community club, with the preparation and delivery of lessons and ambassador activities. You can be involved in the interactive learning activities about the environment, cooking, gardening, and more. If you wish to make a donation, visit http://begawanfoundation.org/how-you-can-help for more information.

Begawan Foundation

Jalan Raya Payangan No. 14, Melinggih Kelod, Gianyar
+62 361 900 1324/26
www.begawanfoundation.org/volunteer

Keep the Villages Clean

Merah Putih Hijau was formed based on the very clear demand and necessity for a community-owned waste management in Bali. Started in 2016 by environmental company Mantra, MPH collaborates with Pererenan Village, local subak residents, and other partners in Canggu to improve village infrastructure and the island’s plastic and waste issue. Their focus is waste separation, with tools provided to villages by the team. The waste management system is then enforced by the authority in respective villages to encourage total efficiency in managing materials. The short-term goal is for local communities to be self-sustained whilst they aim to create a working template for other villages to replicate in the long run. The term Merah Putih Hijau (Red White Green) was coined to categorise the materials into Red (Plastic and Paper), White (Metal and Glass), and Green (Organic) – but also plays to represent a green Indonesia (red and white flag).

How you can support: Volunteering at MPH means you’ll contribute to Bali’s future and help find a durable solution for its waste management. You can also to start a recycling and collection facility in your village with the MPH team if you wish. If you are a designer or developer, there might be an opportunity for you to contribute to their open-source app to make the waste management model transparent and scaleable. Please download more information from their website:  www.mph-bali.org/en/download/. To donate and support them empower villages, visit: www.mph-bali.org/en/donate/. 

Merah Putih Hijau

www.instagram.com/mph.bali

Provide Health, Care and Happiness

Few visitors of the island are aware that Bali still has a staggering poverty and malnutrition rate. 50% of Indonesia¡¯s 260 million people live on less than $2 a day. Robert Epstone committed to a rather unorthodox promise to himself in solidarity with those less privileged. He founded Yayasan Solemen Indonesia in 2010 and declared his intention to be barefoot until it had raised USD 1 million, in solidarity with those who don’t have a choice to wear shoes.

The organisation’s Outreach Programmes are devised to benefit the poor, disabled, homeless, and marginalised in Bali; with the aim to alleviate extreme poverty by bringing sustainable solutions to those who remain hidden from public view hence lack access to basic healthcare service. Solemen actively reaches people who fall through the cracks and are not helped by the existing network of charitable organisations and government programs. Despite very often operating on a shoestring budget, Solemen’s fast acting Outreach Team of volunteer doctors, nurses, therapists, nutritionists and social workers shoulder an ever-growing caseload of ‘Solebuddies’ (people under their care). The big-hearted team at Solemen truly tend to anyone who needs their help, often caring for some of the most difficult cases such as the physically and mentally impaired, those living with incredibly difficult health problems and more. They have been personally endorsed by Bali’s former governor Made Mangku Pastika and the Bali Government Tourism Office.

How you can support: Solemen Indonesia strongly rely on donations ranging from individual to corporate sponsorships. Many of Solemen’s families are unable to afford basic food necessities, you can change this and be a part of the solution! Donate or become a monthly sponsor for them to receive food parcels, high protein milk, medical care, educational needs, and more. Visit www.solemen.org/wishlist if you wish to donate essential items or www.solemen.org/drop-off-locations to view Solemen’s drop off locations from Benoa, Canggu, to Ubud.

Yayasan Solemen Indonesia

Jalan Merdeka Raya No.8x, Kuta
+62 812 3720 6220
www.solemen.org

Help Our Oceans

Indonesia has the largest coral reef area in Southeast Asia, yet over one third of the reefs are in poor conditions due to lack of awareness. To impart knowledge on marine conservation and create sustainable management plans, Coral Triangle Center (CTC) was established in 2010. Mainly working with local authorities and communities, CTC focuses to alleviate the issue by inspiring and training the next generation of marine conservationists. Their focal point is the Coral Triangle region (the world’s epicentre of marine biodiversity), supporting the management of marine protected areas (MPA) in Nusa Penida, the Banda Islands, and Atauro Island in Timor-Leste. The team has developed 26 training modules and trained more than 4,000 people to build up the capacity of communities and government agencies to care for marine and coastal ecosystems.

How you can support: CTC’s Centre for Marine Conservation is welcome to anyone wanting to learn about oceans and coral reefs. They hold Fun Learning Classes, such as a coral clay hand-moulding workshop every Monday, as well as the ‘Escape Room SOS from the Deep’, Indonesia’s first marine conservation-themed immersive adventure game. The team is focused on engaging with the Bali community and island visitors to share knowledge and build up global action. Support them by visiting the Centre or becoming a Friend of CTC! Learn more at www.coraltrianglecenter.org/get-involved and www.savingoceansnow.com

Coral Triangle Center (CTC)

Jalan Bet Ngandang II No.88-89, Sanur
+62 361 289338
www.coraltrianglecenter.org

Educate Indonesia’s Next Generation

Paving the way from education to employment, Bali Children Foundation works to improve the quality of life of children across Bali, Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan, Lombok, and the Gili Islands. Since 2002, BCF has helped families in 76 villages and assists disaster responses such as the devastating Lombok earthquakes in 2018 providing health and dental care, disability management, and environmental protection solutions during disasters. BCF has equipped classes in some of Bali’s poorest ares with computer rooms, also covering business and entrepreneurial topics. The team became involved with the schools in Bali’s Songan district after the devastating landslide in 2017 resulting in isolation and poverty. Over the last 2 years, they have set up facilities, renovated schools and are now teaching English in four Songan schools (a total of 1,038 students). They plan to keep expanding the English programme from elementary to junior and senior high school to improve student¡¯s spoken and listening skills to widen employment opportunities.

How you can support: To welcome the festive season and share the Christmas spirit with the children, BCF has launched a Christmas Backpack Appeal. The goal is to donate 1,038 backpacks for the students in Songan. You can donate a backpack by heading over to: http://bit.ly/BCFGeneralDonation or visiting the BCF website and click the donate button. You can purchase multiple backpacks in lieu of friends and family – a wonderful opportunity to pass on generosity! To support BCF all year long, make a difference by sponsoring a child.

Bali Children Foundation

Jalan Raya Kesambi No.369, Kerobokan
+62 851 0064 8400
www.balichildrenfoundation.org

Aid for the Animals

Although the exact heritage of the Bali dog remains unknown, they are looked at as a symbol of Balinese heritage by activists and animal lovers alike. These dogs are known to be kind and intuitive, and most of all, loyal. Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) was established in 2007 to improve the lives of animals but they are also committed to saving and protecting the threatened indigenous Bali dog (which is genetically highly intelligent, and of significance to science) especially from indiscriminate killing and the barbaric dog meat trade. Over the years, BAWA has developed and continues to provide numerous service programmes, from humane population control and disease control to running extensive education and advocacy programs for sustainable improvement to animal welfare. The team at BAWA will respond to any animal in distress, be it dogs, cats, snakes, dolphins, with the hope of being able to rescue, rehabilitate and in many cases re-home them.

How you can support: BAWA is dependent on individual, community, and corporate goodwill. You can join Friends of BAWA, donate, or have fun in their fundraising events. You can adopt an animal in need or volunteer your skills and services from anywhere in the world. Or visit BAWA’s shops and shop from an exclusive range of Sterling Silver jewellery specially created by BAWA founder and internationally-recognised designer Janice Girardi. Proceed of all sales go to BAWA.

Bali Animal Welfare Association

Jalan A.A. Gede Rai No.550, Lodtunduh, Ubud
+62 812 384 0133
www.bawabali.com

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