Helping the Disadvantaged by Going Barefoot

Explore Bali | Written By, NOW! BALI |

For this month’s issue, we spoke with Rotarian Robert Epstone from UK, a man who vows to be barefoot until he is able to raise USD 1,000,000 to help underprivileged people. The reason for being barefoot is “to be in solidarity with those who don’t have a choice to wear or not wear shoes”. What is the idea behind Solemen? Solemen is a Bali based non-profit organization. Our aims are to help the severely disadvantaged by providing education, healthcare and support for their well being. Whilst Bali is a world-renowned holiday destination, often deemed as a paradise, there is little in the way of public healthcare, understanding or funds to help the severely disadvantaged. Sadly, this means many Balinese suffer unnecessarily. Our main strategy is to help an increasing number of families in need. In addition to our existing work we now operate our “Gift of Sustainable Nutrition” program – the creation of sustainable food supply via permaculture gardens in poor communities in Bali.

For this month’s issue, we spoke with Rotarian Robert Epstone from UK, a man who vows to be barefoot until he is able to raise USD 1,000,000 to help underprivileged people. The reason for being barefoot is “to be in solidarity with those who don’t have a choice to wear or not wear shoes”.

What is the idea behind Solemen?

Solemen is a Bali based non-profit organization. Our aims are to help the severely disadvantaged by providing education, healthcare and support for their well being. Whilst Bali is a world-renowned holiday destination, often deemed as a paradise, there is little in the way of public healthcare, understanding or funds to help the severely disadvantaged. Sadly, this means many Balinese suffer unnecessarily. Our main strategy is to help an increasing number of families in need. In addition to our existing work we now operate our “Gift of Sustainable Nutrition” program – the creation of sustainable food supply via permaculture gardens in poor communities in Bali.

When and how was Solemen founded?

Yayasan Solemen Indonesia was co-founded as a non-profit organization in November 2011 by me and Beat Schmid de Grunek (Swiss) with caring Balinese friend and fellow Rotarian Mangku Made Ariawan as President.  The idea came out of the obvious need to support the disadvantaged in Bali. Having teamed up with Beat and Mangku Made, I set upon a mission to walk 535km across Bali to raise awareness and funds for the plight of the disadvantaged with pre-arranged health checks and presentations for children every few days along the route. In fact, I vowed to do it barefoot. He and his companions were dubbed ‘Sole Men’, and so the non-profit Yayasan (Indonesian charity) was born.

What are the goals of the foundation?

The overall goal of Solemen is to alleviate suffering of the disadvantaged in Bali with a dedicated team working day in, day out to make this goal a reality. One of our future goals is to set up a hospice in Bali as this is something really needed here.

How does the Foundation achieve its goals?

Solemen do this through our multiple outreach programs, all designed to help

 Support individual cases of need:

  • people with severe sickness, injury or illness
  • people who are disadvantaged and/or living in poverty
  •  physically challenged people
  • mentally challenged people
  •  special cases
  • Educate individuals and communities.
  • Support inspirational disadvantaged role models
  • Maintain sustainable Food Production in poor communities

The understanding that we hold in our hands the power to change a life, a mind, or a circumstance today – right now – is a powerful insight and motivator. At the same time, idealistic acts, even highly symbolic ones, have the power to inspire others to act, and sometimes in numbers significant enough to make a major or even complete impact on the problem at hand.

Solemen is only able to impact so many people through the kind efforts of their donors, volunteers, staff and caring supporters. Donations can be made directly through Solemen’s website at www.solemen.org . To find out more, join Solemen’s Facebook at www.facebook.com/IndonesiaSoleMen 

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NOW! BALI

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