Bali based NGO Yayasan Solemen Indonesia gives hope, creates smiles and makes a difference in many people’s lives every day. Since its inception in 2010, Yayasan Solemen has morphed into a dynamic organisation with a serious mission that reaches far beyond the original goal.
A great outreach programme was created to benefit the poor, the disadvantaged, the disabled, the homeless and the marginalised in Bali. Their goal is to alleviate the misery of extreme poverty by bringing hope and solutions, while at the same time focusing on individual cases that remain hidden from public view and hence are separated from easy access to medical treatment.
Solemen reaches people who fall through the cracks and are not helped by the existing network of charitable organisations and government programmes. Many of them are difficult to find, mostly because Balinese culture dictates that misery, disease, disability and poverty should be hidden from the outside world.
Handling children and adults with pernicious diseases, acute and untreated medical problems, Solemen also handles those who need crucial medical intervention, ongoing therapy or medications. Helping all ages, conditions and religions all-around Bali, their Outreach Team travels huge distances often in arduous circumstances to help others. They are fully transparent, audited and have no religious bias.
Solemen’s great Outreach Team is making a vast difference in the lives of those in need. A roving, fast-acting team of volunteer doctors and nurses, backed by salaried local team members, has been canvassing the remote areas of this island to find the hidden misery of untreated disease, disability, extreme poverty and destitution. Their caseload has mushroomed, and they are currently approaching the needy with more people added every month. This situation creates a critically-strained team’s resources. The team operates on a shoestring budget, but, amazingly, they continue unabated and work wonders by focusing their efforts on providing effective and targeted help where it will have the most impact.
As the most visible and trusted charity on the island, Solemen is not the recipient of government funds or assistance from large institutional donors. Instead, their work is funded by donations from empathic individuals and through a partnership with businesses or corporate supporters. Solemen’s CSR charity programmes with hotels are now helping to support their Outreach programmes. That corporate support can have a far-reaching impact is amply illustrated by their long-term partnerships with hotels, such as Hard Rock Hotel Kuta and Bali Dynasty Resort.
CSR programmes, especially those focusing on charitable and philanthropic engagement with the community in which they operate, are gaining popularity and are becoming an important part of a hotel’s “doing well by doing good” business strategy. Hotel guests contribute through a voluntary opt-out $1 per stay donation. Such amount will create social and health benefits for the community. Other sponsors support it on a monthly basis to make sure that the needy children receive monthly sponsorships (medical, nutritional or educational needs). This programme also covers medical assessments for children suffering from a wide range of medical conditions, provides wheelchairs for disabled children and adults, prostheses for amputees, and basic household necessities for the desperately poor.
Corporate involvement in Solemen’s partnership programmes is a win-win situation for both parties. Such corporate sponsorships makes it possible for Solemen to do what they do best, which is to create ‘hope and change lives’ for those in desperate need.
Solemen have recently formed a new partnership with Scholars of Sustenance, a non-profit food rescue organisation, to collect and redistribute nutritious food for the Solehouse and their Solebuddies in local hospitals. The first generous collection included food from Hard Rock Hotel Kuta. As the programme expands, they expect more hotels will join this noble cause in order to feed more undernourished people. Solemen already has several initiatives in place to provide monthly food parcels to impoverished families and nutritious milk supplements to malnourished children and adults. The Scholars of Sustenance is a most welcome addition to their efforts.
All of these efforts need sustainable funding to be able to continue the momentum. As the workload becomes heavier, daily costs rise in tandem. Besides donations from caring supporters and corporate sponsors, they try to fill the shortfalls with other fundraising initiatives, such as the Solemen’s expanding merchandise collection, which includes the popular SoleTeddies, hand-made mahogany fans, Moringa super supplements, caps, t-shirts, singlets and attractive souvenir gift books.
The sad truth is that there are more people in need than funds to care for them all. As they mostly operate close to breakeven, Solemen is still in need of more funding and contributions. No matter how much money they raise, they continually encounter more disadvantaged people who are in desperate need of intervention and care. As such, the circle never closes. However, this quest shall go on! Together, we can change more lives!