Monday, April 2, 2018

Let’s Go to India: All You Need to Know About India

Some people love to travel and if you are one of them, you should not forget to include India in your travel destinations. You can either find fascinating travel locations that you can visit by yourself or join the tours given by the different travel agencies, such as Travel Treasures Tour. If you want to make the most out of your travel in India, there are some things that you need to do and consider. Once you’re through, you can enjoy a holiday in India.

The very first to do is to conduct background reading about India. This will help in familiarizing yourself with the foreign country. The living conditions in India are also quite good. You can find five and four-star hotels offering international standards. Palace hotels have garnered a world status that can’t be compared to other hotels around the globe. For the budget traveller, you can check-in in three-star hotels. You can also find tourist bungalows, traveller’s lodges, youth hotels, holiday homes, and YWCA/YMCA’s.

For a worry-free traveller, you need to make arrangements in advance. October until March are considered the peak tourist season, while from May until June is the season of the Indian holiday. If you plan to travel during these months, it is highly advisable that you book in advance because at this time there are limited travel amenities.

If you want, you can also learn the local language, but English is used in all the tourist centres. The Indian locals are gracious and friendly. Now, if you find staring a bit rude, just relax if the locals stare at you because it is natural for them. However, you should not let your guard down because you will never know what can happen. Try to be friendly with the locals but you should always be careful. You will understand more about the locals with the help of your tour guide.

Indian food is very much different from your usual food. Make sure that you eat only one serving of Indian dish for each meal. Eat peeled fresh fruits and mostly cooked foods first. This way, your body system can easily adjust to the Indian food. It is also advisable that you drink only bottled drinks, water, tea and coffee. The hotels have filtration systems, so you will not encounter many problems.

If you are taking medications, buy it before you leave for India. You see, you may not be able to find the same brand of medications there. However, the local doctors may suggest alternative medications just in case you really need immediate medical attention.

When you are visiting a temple or mausoleum, make sure that you remove your shoes, sandals or slippers. There are also Indian temples that will not allow non-Hindus to enter. Your tourist guide will be the one to explain these matters!

Travelling to India is more comfortable and easier if you have someone who looks after you. Book your travel with the right travel agency and get the suitable tour package that can meet all your travelling needs.  Make sure that you do this in advance.

Why India?
India is a mix of incredible combination of modernity and tradition. This country is also among the leading tourist destinations all over the world with millions of people visit every year. What attracts them to come to India? You see, there are many beautiful and attractive places that you can visit in the different regions. They are also beaches, mountains, wildlife, hill stations, sports and adventure, heritage sites, deserts, pilgrim sites, palaces and monuments.
Each tourist spots can give you a different experience. Make sure you do your homework; surf the net and visit India’s official site. Check out the comments from the previous visitors. Planning for a trip to India is quite easy. You can easily contact a travel agency, such as Travel Treasures Tour, and ask them to guide you. In choosing the right travel agency, make sure you choose a reputable one and the one who has been in service for quite some time. Ask for the travel packages that suit your needs. Decide your budget as it is another thing to consider when travelling to a foreign country. In case you prefer to go on with no string attached from any travel agency, you must gather all important information about India. Get a map and get used to it! You will be alright.
New Delhi – India’s Magnificent Capital
If you travel to north India, you will find New Delhi. This India’s capital can be found near the Yamuna River. It was only in 1931 when the city was inaugurated as India’s new capital. You can find printing plants, textile mills and other manufacturing establishments within the city. New Delhi India travel is a very exciting trip that you should look forward to.
The city streets are symmetrically laid out. Lutyens was the architect who drew the city plan. He was also the same person who designed Rashtrapati Bhawan which happens to be the residence of the country’s president. The buildings in the city reflect an Indian style but the architecture is primarily European. A boulevard is found east of the presidential palace that is bordered by canals and trees which lead to a memorial war arch. These particular sights are already eye-catching but wait until you see the rest of the city.
Heritage monuments, palaces, temples and wildlife reserves are found almost in every region of India. You can find these sights in New Delhi as well. Ask your tour guide to take you to the lovely spots of the city. Daily tours are conducted, and you only need to ask the tour itinerary for the day. You can join the city tour or explore it alone. Some individuals prefer to walk around the city to witness the breath-catching sights within the area. Aside from that, this will also give them a chance to meet the locals. Local people are most gracious and friendly, so you will surely have a great time wandering all over the city.
Travelling to New Delhi can be an exciting experience, especially if you know the best tourist spots to visit. To make the most out of your India travel, visit only the places that interest you. If you are interested in animals, visit the wildlife reserves. If you like scenic spots, ask your tour guide to a scenic spot in the city. For those who love unique architectures, visit the palaces, temples or monuments.
Visit Majestic Mumbai
In the states, New York is known as the ‘city that never sleeps’. Its counterpart in India is Mumbai. Despite the small troubles that occur in the streets of India, tourists still love to go to this magnificent and alluring country. Maybe because of its glorious past or perhaps of its scenic tourist spots.
Mumbai is a very important commercial centre in India. So far, it is the largest metropolitan area and is densely populated. The so-called Star Machine of the country is found in Mumbai, Bollywood. This Star Machine is able to come up with motion pictures more than what Hollywood can produce. The entertainment industry in India is booming and its popularity around the world is ever increasing. Indian cinema has definitely contributed to the country's cultural and economic context.
The metropolitan area is located in the coastal area. Almost half of India's sea cargo and traffic is catered in this sea harbour. Many years ago, Mumbai was a 7-island archipelago. Way back in the nineteenth century, the archipelago was amalgamated.  Geographical features in Mumbai are diverse and so if you visit this city at any time of the year, you will experience tropical weather.
Mumbai’s culture is a reflection of many cultural influences. The city celebrates both the eastern and western festivals. These festivals are much awaited by the tourists. This represents unity despite the differences within the city. India is a country with different religions and beliefs but still, the entire country remains peaceful and very accommodating to tourists.
The city was only called Mumbai in 1995 but before that, local residents called it Bombay. The city is a hub for the manufacturing industry, transportation and commercial. The name Mumbai was derived from a Hindu Goddess known as Mumba or Parvati.
While you are in Mumbai, you should also see India's Gateway. This is a structure that sea travellers first see when they arrive at the harbour. There are also monuments in the city like the Gothic Style Presidency Secretariat, University Hall and Tower, Clock Tower of Rajabai, and High Court. If you are looking for a castle in this city, you should go to the Horniman Circle. Heritage sites are also located in Mumbai, which includes Elephanta Caves and Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Aside from those mentioned awhile earlier, there are still so many things to see in Mumbai. Your tourist guide can show you around the city of Mumbai. If you want, before you travel to India, you should already conduct a research about Mumbai and choose the specific locations that you want to visit.
Travel Recommendations for Northern India in Winter
The geographical position and unusual topography of India are responsible for the country’s diverse climate. If you have plans of visiting northern India, you can expect the climate to be hotter during the summer and cooler in winter. Before going there, you have to consider these travel recommendations for northern India in winter.
The northern plains of India during the winter season which happens to be from October to March brings very cold temperatures. In fact, the temperature in the Thar Desert can reach freezing point. The central city of the north is New Delhi and the temperature there is from 8 degrees to 21 degrees Celsius.
You can find a rich history of culture in north India. Aside from New Delhi, you can also visit other destinations, such as Uttranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Jamma, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Kashmir. There are many activities that you can do in north India, such as river rafting, camel safari, mountain biking, skiing and trekking. You can also find exquisite architectures, incredible wildlife, sand dunes and historical charm in this Indian region.
If you plan to tour Delhi, you can explore the city’s religious face. There are many temples that you can visit Akshardham, Birla, Bangla Sahib, and ISKCON temples. Aside from the temples, there are also forts in Delhi like Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, and Red Fort. Taj Mahal is found in north India, specifically in Uttar Pradesh. If you have plans of travelling to Uttaranchal, don’t do this during the winter season as it is very cold. You can do it between April and June or from September to November.
Individuals who love mall shopping can go to Shimla. You can find malls offering great sights there. The Golden Temple can be found in Punjab. Other places that you should visit are Srinagar, Jammu, Dal Lake, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Solan, Dalhousie, Dharamsala, Kullu, Manali, Kangra, and Chamba. You can have the best holiday experience in north India.
As mentioned earlier, winter in north India is quite cold. If you go there during winter, you have to bring the appropriate clothes. If you don’t have them, you can start purchasing winter clothes. This way, you can avoid stressing out your body and ending up sick. Make sure that you take your vitamins and some medications with you, just in case you catch fever, cough or colds. The medicines sold in India are not the same as those sold in your home country. So better be prepared especially if you're travelling there during the winter. You can enjoy the sights and tourist spots in north India if you have a healthy body. Still, if you can't withstand the cold, you should go to North India during the summer season. The temperature during that time is not as cold as the winter season.
Now that you know the places that you can visit in north India, you can contact a travel agency and book your travel in advance. The winter season in India is also the peak season for the influx of tourists and so it would be best to plan ahead, otherwise, you will not get the best services because the accommodations are limited. Planning can really take so much of your time but with the help of a travel agency, your troubles are lessened. If you take into consideration these travel recommendations for northern India in winter, you will have the greatest time of your life despite the cold climate.
India Wildlife Tour and Hiking Adventure
Why is it that many tourists love to visit India over and over again? The country is rich in heritage and culture; not only that, there are many picturesque and adventure spots all over the country. If you plan for an India wildlife tour and hiking adventure, this is the ultimate experience that you shouldn’t miss.
There are only very few countries that offer tourists with a broad range of tours, and India is one of them. All throughout an India tour, you can surely experience an outstanding and awe-inspiring expedition. If you like a hiking adventure, you can visit the Himalayan range in India. By going on a hiking adventure to the Himalayas, you can take part in other adventure sports such as river rafting, mountaineering, trekking, and climbing. Aside from that, by hiking in the Himalayas, you can also go on a wildlife tour because you can find wildlife sanctuaries and blossoming forests there as well. Hikers like you can enjoy nature's pleasure including majestic landscapes and waterfalls.
An ideal hiking adventure provides you with all factors of attraction and ecstasy. When you're on nature's trail, you can feel an unknown force that seems to draw you closer to things around you. You don’t have to be an expert in hiking in order to enjoy this adventure. You simply have to make sure that your individual stamina can withstand the weather conditions while hiking. If you plan to go on hiking, make sure that a guide is with you especially if this is your first time in the Himalayas.
Aside from hiking, you can also visit India's wildlife reserves. You can find about eighty national parks and more than 500 animal sanctuaries all over India. You can visit the most popular animal reserves in Madhya Pradesh (Bandhavgarh sanctuary and Kanha), Rajasthan (Ranthambore and Sariska), and Uttar Pradesh (Dudhwa and Corbett Park). To enjoy these wildlife destinations, it would be best to join safari tours and trekking adventures.
If you like bird watching, you can visit Keoladeo Ghana and you can see tigers in Rajasthan's Ranthambore Park. By joining wildlife tours, you can explore nature more closely and you will see how animals live peacefully and in unity.
India is a religious country. Respect and unity are strongly reflected in their culture. The country is home to many different religions but despite these differences, you can enjoy the peace and serenity in almost all the tourist spots of India. Because of this, you can make the most of your vacation holiday. Every day, tours are conducted in the various regions of the country. Get in touch with your travel agency and ask for the schedule of hiking adventures and wildlife tours. Having a tourist guide with you wherever you go will make you feel safer and protected. But for those who want to explore India alone, you can create your very own adventure. Your unforgettable adventure will depend largely on your choice of tours.
The good thing is that while you're hiking the Himalayas, you can already witness the wildlife reserves of the country. You can do two things at a time. That will save you time and energy. On your next day in India, you can try another adventure tour. Travelling to a foreign country gives you limited time to explore the places that you've never been to, so better make sure that you join as many tours as possible.

Applying for an India Travel Visa
You can’t travel abroad without a visa. But what is a visa anyway? Visa is a stamp, an official stamp, from the high commission or embassy in your travelling document or passport. It authorizes you and other travellers to go to India (or any other country) for a specific period and purpose. Take note of the word 'official'. You see, there are a lot of scammers out there who are able to go out of the country and enter into another without having an official visa.
Getting an India travel visa? That's quite easy. All you have to do is satisfy all the rules and visa regulations. After doing so, you can be issued an India travel visa. Some individuals fail to get visas but not because they are unqualified. The main reason why most people are denied is that they fail to understand the visa officer. Consider the following suggestions when applying for an India travel visa or any other visa.
For the passport, first-time travellers have 'virgin passports'. To the visa officer, this may mean that this is your first time to travel overseas or your previous visa applications to other countries were denied. Your passport may also have more than one visa. This can mean that other countries have confidence in you, that is why they gave you a visa.
If this is your first time to apply for a visa, you have to determine first if India has a high rejection rate for visas. India is not that strict in the visa applications so even if you are a first-time India visa applicant, you have a high chance to get an approved visa.
You can acquire India visa easily through the help of travel agencies, such as Travel Treasures. They will gladly assist you while you apply for a visa.
Getting an India travel visa is not that hard, especially if you know your way around the embassy. Learn more about visa application online because you can find a lot of helpful information on the net. Prepare yourself. You can’t afford to be denied a visa application because you cannot reach India without it and not only that, your passport will be affected as well and all your other visa applications in the future.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bali as Your Wedding Destination

Wedding in Bali is an excellent way to enjoy the serene environment, bask in the sunshine, enjoy the beach and make the most of a great holiday on a paradise island. But planning for this once in a lifetime occasion is extremely daunting, particularly when you have no idea regarding the best offerings that Bali can present.  The key to planning is to work with the wedding planners that you can trust. That’s where The Seven Agency can work wonders for you with seamless planning process suited to your requirements and budget. Pre-designed wedding packages that are all inclusive leaves all your worries away as the wedding planner takes care of all the major and minor requirements for your big day before and after your wedding ceremony.

As a wedding destination, Bali helps you relax and takes your stress away. With absolute romantic wedding venues and a group of well-trained and professional staff, The Seven Agency helps you organize the dream come true during your wedding in Bali. The uniqueness of your wedding is based on the number of venue options, starting from lakes, lush green paddy fields, beaches, jungles, cliff edge, waterfalls and secluded locations all around the island. A large number of optional accommodation are available for you to choose, starting from exquisite villas to resorts, all will provide you and your guests the best place to stay on the island. Not just limited to the ceremony, Bali also doubles up as an excellent honeymoon destination. This is a great advantage for those who want to have both the events one after the other.

Bali offers the best of tropical settings, thereby allowing you to capture the best moments of your wedding and honeymoon in the backdrop that you want. Whether it is a beautiful sunset or sunrise, the night sky with the twinkling of stars, the island offers the best photographic moments to add to your occasion. With friendly marriage laws for foreigners in Bali, the entire process is quick and easy with legal documentation. Another reason is the cost-effectiveness that Bali offers for a wedding as compared to similar tourist destinations worldwide. This is especially true considering the value of money options with venues, décor, honeymoon packages, and food options. It is established that the cost on the island is almost 3 to 5 times cheaper than any other renowned destination.

However, if you do not plan everything well, then there is a chance that you can get stuck in a massive traffic of Bali. The reason being the emergence of Bali as a favourite tourism destination and the presence of a large number of budget travellers on the island thereby increase in a crowd during the peak seasons. Another cause of concern is that the budget accommodations get filled up quickly as tourist flocks to this paradise to enjoy the warmth and splendour that nature has to offer. Unless careful planning is done using a renowned wedding planner, things can get a little out of hand during the peak seasons.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Peaceful Family Treat at Royal Tulip Saranam Resort & Spa

Bali’s popular northern region is a home to some of the best luxury hotels on the island. This is particularly noteworthy for those with a penchant for only the best in accommodation, service quality and facilities during their stay. Unlike the typical southern attractions where beach resorts are a big hit and crowds are more, the northern portion provides accommodation which is not necessarily five-star resorts or international hotel chains but still lives up to the standard for a luxury living. The luxury accommodation here allows you to enjoy and experience the area, allowing peace of mind and pleasure from the hustle and bustle of crowded places. With lush green surroundings and harmonious setup, the luxurious Royal Tulip Saranam Resort and Spa offers a total serene and calm experience.

Located on the way to Bedugul, this 5-star hotel offers a village-like atmosphere combined with luxury accommodation. This essentially means that you can explore and enjoy the beauty associated with Bedugul while living in this 5-star sanctuary, surrounded by vast open spaces and rice fields. Royal Tulip Saranam Resort and Spa offers peace and tranquillity to its guests along with luxury living with the highest international standards of service and quality. Each of the rooms here is outfitted with plush furnishings and bedding for a sumptuous stay.

Unwind with wonderful views from the countryside while enjoying the privacy of large living rooms and bathrooms in your accommodation. Another notable feature is that all the rooms in this hotel are fully equipped with a wide range of amenities. The decoration of the room is extremely soothing thereby helping you relax during your stay here. It is also possible to choose villas with the kind of view that suits you. There are villas with the view of mountains, the large pool, or the lush rice paddies. Even the standard and deluxe rooms come with balconies with beautiful views that will make you feel rejuvenated.

This accommodation also has a big outdoor pool dedicated to families with kids, a perfect playground to relax while soaking under a cool weather. Along with the natural beauty, guests can pamper with the host of facilities inside the hotel and enjoy some delicious cuisine in the restaurants. Families can also take part in the family activities at this hotel, which includes both art and cooking classes. Along with that, there are some traditional Balinese activities like rice harvesting and offerings at water temple. Fitness conscious guests can work out at the fully equipped modern gym and outdoor running track in the valley of the hotel.

Royal Tulip Saranam Resort and Spa is also located within a close distance to a number of attractions, such as the Botanical Garden, Jatiluwih Rice Fields, Hot Springs and Ulun Danu Temple. For shopping fans, guests can visit the Bedugul Market, while Bali Treetop Adventure Park is in the neighbourhood to entertain the adventure enthusiasts. Nicely located in Bali’s Lake District, the Royal Tulip Saranam is a perfect vacation destination for families who are in desperate need a peace of mind in a peaceful environment.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sharing and Caring with Solemen

December is a busy and festive month in Bali as many tourists spend their end-of-year holidays here and join the resident expatiates in a merry period of cheer and exotic fun, sipping a cool drink with toes wiggling in the sand, wearing a Santa hat to ward off the rays of the sun or dancing the old year away under swaying palm trees.

Christmas carols float around in shopping malls, restaurants and hotel lobbies. New Year trumpets and slingers are sold on the street and spruce up the usual decorations everywhere. It’s a world of celebration and goodwill, a chance to renew our hearts with peaceful intentions and goodwill towards everyone.

The tourist areas of Bali are in full decorative mode enticing visitors to celebrate and partake in all the joys the festive season is bringing. Yummy food and delectable drinks are high on the menu and Bali, being the mecca of great restaurants and eateries, lures visitors with mouth-watering selections featuring traditional and not so traditional holiday favourites.

While you are tucking into that luscious duck, succulent turkey or glistening ham, spare a thought for the less fortunate on this island of plenty. Few tourists are aware that Bali has a staggering poverty rate and malnutrition is rampant in some of the more remote communities. And in those communities it is the children who suffer most. Poor nutrition and inadequate vitamin, protein and micro nutrient intake in children result in poor brain development, weak muscle growth and impaired coordination. This affects a child’s mental, physical, emotional and social health and is the leading cause of degenerative disease in adulthood. A malnourished child with delayed development is at greater risk of illness and disease throughout its lifetime. Many poor families are unable to afford even the most basic food necessities and are severely malnourished.

Yayasan Solemen, one of the best known and transparent charities in Bali, has made it their mission to care for the least fortunate people on this island. Solemen’s great Outreach program touches many people in remote communities whose lives are tainted by the misery of untreated diseases, disability, extreme poverty, malnourishment and destitution.

Sometimes it does not take a great deal of money to alleviate some of the more searing problems like malnutrition and Solemen’s monthly distribution of food parcels to poor families brings great succour and grateful smiles to the children. These basic food parcels include all local products and consist of a sack of rice, sugar, Bali coffee, cooking oil, tray eggs, tahu or tempe, chicken, milk, fruit and vegetables. They cost Rp700k (approximately AUD$68), the equivalent of a modest Christmas or Chanukah present.

Donating a basic food parcel to a needy family would be an utmost gift of kindness and a great way for them to share in the festive bounty. Donating a monthly food parcel would certainly spread that goodwill cheer throughout the new year. To contribute your gift and learn more about the good work done by the Solemen,

- Nobody should endure hunger -

Monday, November 27, 2017

East Bali Bamboo Bikes

The village of Ban (Desa Ban) in Karangasem, East of Bali, has the distinction of being one of the largest villages in Indonesia, with its 7,200 hectares village boundary joining the craters of Mounts Agung and Abang in the south and then running northerly from both craters to meet on the boundary of Tianyar village, 5km south of the ocean road which connects Amlapura city with Singaraja. All of Desa Ban’s 19 sub-villages lie within 12km of Mount Agung crater which meant that all of the 3,500 or so families from these 19 communities were forced to flee their homes on 22nd of September when severe earthquakes pointed to an imminent eruption of Mount Agung, with the Government Disaster Mitigation Agency raising the alert level to IV, its highest, and ordered all villagers living within 12km of Mount Agung crater to evacuated to designated safer locations. By 29th October, volcanic activity had reduced to a level where the danger zone was reduced to 6-7.5km and only those within this zone were not allowed to return home. That included 8 of our 19 communities.

In 1998, when the East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) formed a partnership with the 19 communities of Desa Ban to reduce poverty and promote culturally sensitive, sustainable social and economic development, it was clear that their centuries of isolation and abject poverty had been exacerbated by the destruction caused by Mount Agung’s 1963 eruption, which continued on and off until February 1964. In 1998, with short and medium term goals to reduce poverty by improving infrastructure, education, health care resources, water and sanitation, the long term goals were to create livelihoods opportunities through the most beneficial natural resource of bamboo.

Bamboo has played a key role in EBPP’s community based sustainable economic development activities since 2007, including planting more than 80,000 bamboo plantlings and training more than 20 local people, including 7 high school graduates from EBPP’s schools, from 7 different communities in bamboo clump management - in partnership with the late Ms Linda Garland and her Environmental Bamboo Foundation - and bamboo product development. In addition to selling a wide range of size and styles of high quality woven bamboo baskets, produced by our Cegi and Pengalusan communities since 2003, our new bamboo product venture to further empower our communities for the long term is production of high quality bamboo bikes. Starting in November 2016, after recruiting Deni, an experienced bamboo bike builder from Bandung in West Java, we soon had a well-trained local team of 9 bamboo bike builders, using locally sourced bamboo and working from our recently built and well equipped Daya Bamboo Workshop.

A key essential for all bamboo poles before use is to ensure that as soon as harvested, they are cleaned and treated to preserve the bamboo and prevent termite infestation, and then dried to a moisture content of 6-8%. Here was where we experienced difficulties due to our often very humid and cloudy days at our Daya Bamboo Workshop area. I should clarify that Daya, at an elevation of about 950 metres above sea level, is in the valley between Mounts Agung and Abang, with temperatures that can range from an overnight low of 12 degrees Celsius to a high of 32 degrees in the same day, and due to its valley location, has quite high humidity and gets more rain and cloud than the remaining 18 hamlets of our mountain village.

To solve this problem, we built a 4m x 6m ‘drying room’ from matt black painted corrugated zinc sheets to absorb the heat, built pallet-type drying racks inside to stack the bamboo and installed a dehumidifier with fans at the rear to absorb the humidity and increase the temperature – resulting in achieving the desired moisture content of the cut bamboo poles after treatment in a just a few days – whereas before building the drying room, it could take weeks and not achieve the low moisture content required. Now, we can dry the bamboo and maintain the appropriate moisture content until the poles are needed for the next bike!

Since selling our first bamboo custom bike to a British expat in April, which included front and rear bamboo custom made bamboo baskets we have sold more than 40 bamboo bike frames to local businesses and now are developing our website for “East Bali Bamboo Bikes”. We are continuously improving our standards and moving towards a sustainable business where our present team of trained artisans will train others in our village, especially graduate students, both male a female, which we hope will eventually provide home industries for many of our communities and hope that our high school graduates will not need to venture to south Bali to seek work – but can develop their own village, supported by East bali Poverty Project team, with our mission of helping people to help themselves to escape the poverty trap.

Of course, much depends on our Holy Mount Agung going back to a deep sleep and enabling our Cegi, Pengalusan and Daya communities to return home and get back on with their lives, and resuming their bamboo products and bamboo bikes business.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Make Vision Count with John Fawcett Foundation

The quality of life for people in Indonesia is reduced as blindness plays a major spoilsport in their normal living. This country is indeed suffering from such problem. World Health Organization data has raised an alarm and states that every single minute in Indonesia sees a person go blind due to the poverty and weak economic conditions. An estimated 5.4 million Indonesians or almost 1.8% of the overall population suffer from different eye conditions, and half of which are cataracts. The majority of eyesight related problems for the people is due to conjunctivitis, refractive disorders, cataract, and glaucoma. Data from the Health Ministry of Indonesia mentions that cataract is causing majority of the blindness among Indonesians. New plastic lens implementation is the urgent need of the hour.

The John Fawcett Foundation (JFF) was created in Indonesia with a single vision to eradicate blindness and reduce its effect among the Indonesian people. The foundation further marks that around four million people are needlessly blind and can be cured through proper treatments. Actions are taken place in order to prevent visual impairment, and this includes blindness prevention, sight restoration, prosthetic eyes and corrective surgery for children.

Majority of the blind people in Indonesia suffer from cataract because they are poor and cannot afford the cost of surgery. For that reason, the JFF team decided to reach out to far flung places in Indonesia and offer help through Mobile Eye Clinics. This exercise is much needed and beneficial for those who live in weak economic conditions. The Village Mobile Eye Clinic offers humanitarian assistance for not only children but impoverished adults suffering from visual impairment through eye screening, medicines, treatments, free surgery as necessary, and finally by providing free glasses. JFF also ensures quality eye care in the most effective manner. The cost-efficient ways of treatment through technology transfer to the villages and remote places ensures that there is a transformation in the lives of such people.

The whole community sees the benefit as the numbers of disabled people reduce. With more than forty thousand cataract surgeries, over four lakh glasses distributed and over a million patients screened, the foundation has turned visual impairment from a curse into something which can be prevented and cured. To help such programmes succeed, the foundation looks forward to generous contributions and donations through monetary or materialistic means, or through volunteering efforts of Individuals who want to help others. The success of the foundation relies on these helps. Your support is priceless!

The World Sight Day

Focusing on global attention on blindness and vision impairment, this year’s annual day of awareness will be held on the 12th of October, coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. JFF, as a member of VISION 2020, is planning a special, large-scale programme as a seven-day event, involving its fleet of four Mobile Eye Clinics, four ophthalmic surgeons and its full team plus extra contract nurses in the regency of Situbondo, East Java.

During this programme, the JFF team estimates to screen 2,500 people with eye problems, distribute 1,875 pairs of glasses and treat 1,250 people with eye drops. With four ophthalmologists operating in the four mobile clinics, they are expecting to be able to restore sight for over 400 people. The team will also go to local primary schools and check the eyesight of the children with an estimated 15 pairs of prescription glasses required.

Situbondo, in the eastern part of East Java, is a very impoverished area. The JFF team conducted a programme there in late January and was inundated by the sheer numbers of people with cataracts. During that four-day programme, the team operated 201 people who were blind with cataracts. They left behind hundreds of others and are keen to return for this special large-scale programme in October to assist those still waiting for their surgeries.

The total cost for this event is estimated around AUD $55,000, so a consortium of donors to support this would be ideal. Supporters of this programme would be promoted at the location and in JFF’s promotional materials. JFF is expecting that this event will attract a lot of media attention in Indonesia and wider afield through social media promotions. Donors would also be most welcome to join the JFF team in October to participate in the event and see the wonderful outcomes of their donation to so many lives.

Please note that donations for this event would be eligible for JFF’s usual tax deductions in Australia, the UK and USA, and can be made online via the JFF website, by bank transfer to the JFF accounts in Australia or Indonesia, or by cheque to JFF Australia.


This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Monday, October 30, 2017

Touch a Life of Children with Bali Life Foundation

Photo courtesy of Bali Life - Foundation
Bali Life Foundation is an Indonesian and Australian registered foundation that exists for the sole purpose of providing a future and hope to the underprivileged children within its areas of operation, especially Bali. This foundation is an award-winning entity, having received many prestigious awards for its great work of improving the social and economic lives of the less privileged.

Currently sheltering about 40 children, a children’s hope stands tall at the heart of the foundation’s work. The children home has offered hope to these little beautiful lives coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, with all of whom have either been rejected, orphaned or even abandoned, prior to their inclusion in this noble work. Rather than be faced with the significant risks that come with living on the streets, Bali Life Foundation offers food, shelter, and clothing to these children.

The foundation’s missions, vision and goals are the indications of what the foundation believes. Their core values are mainly engineered to offer hope to those who may have ended up with bleak futures. The vision determines their missions, which are to provide basic needs to the less privileged (HOPE), train and give skills for future survival (PURPOSE), and to teach good values and morals (DIGNITY).

Within 10 years of existence, the foundation has been able to achieve their goals by depicting an organization having a clamour for excellence in the empowerment of the disadvantaged in Bali, more specifically the children and women. It is Bali Life Foundation’s intention to see such unprivileged lives given another chance of reaching their dreams, thus raising an independent and responsible generation for a future successful nation realisation.

They are currently running 4 programmes.
  1. Children’s Home
Unlike most of the children’s homes we know of, this one doesn’t only purpose to give food to the less privileged but is also concerned with the mental and spiritual spheres of their lives. The children are empowered with education to become responsible, successful and independent citizens with the capacity to influence changes within their respective sub-communities across Bali and beyond. By now, at least 8 of the children under the foundation are either in the course of their college or university studies or have just completed their programmes. All the children sheltered under the foundation attend local schools.
  1. Street Kids Centre
There is an informal school for the street urchins, and at least 30 children are attending the sessions. This school features two classrooms, a children’s play area and a library. This is a perfect ground for making kids to be kids as they learn to be enlightened as well as gain skills for the betterment of their future lives. Learning is carried out from Monday to Friday between 9AM and 5AM, with the classes’ main aim being to nurture a child to become meaningful and productive.
  1. Women's Workshop
Bali Life Foundation hasn’t forsaken the seed bearers of any society-women. Once a mother has been empowered, there is a high chance that the entire generation will get the same empowerment. Many of those who were not seeing any hopes for the future will have a reason to smile from now on. Through proactive care, employment and training, Bali Life Foundation has been able to hamper with the poverty cycle that was eating into most of who had either been disregarded by their partners, lost their partners, and even those who just had to flee from abusive families to save their lives. Jewellery and handicrafts are made by these women, after which they are paid wages in return. The foundation’s future idea is to expand the programme to be able to accommodate larger operation base, that may end up including the youths as well.
  1. Suwung Community Centre
This is another programme that purposes to offer the children as well as their families a place for support. It is a centre for the restoration of PURPOSE, HOPE and DIGNITY, especially to those little ones who are not able to attend school due to financial constraints from their backgrounds. This community centre comes in to help in empowerment, education and medical support among other forms of assistances. The positioning of the school in the Suwung Denpasar Trash Area was purposely designed for the centre to target those families working in the dumpsite. Informal school programmes have been designed, tuitions as well as extra classes for mothers and children. Suwung Community Centre’s informal school features two classrooms together with a playground. It is opened from 10AM to 5PM every weekday. At least 30 children and 10 mothers have been benefiting from this programme.
  1. Self-Sustain Farm
Located on a 3380-square meter parcel of land, Bali Life Foundation runs a Self-Sustain Farm that cultivates fruits and vegetables as well as tending to livestock and Aquaponics. This farm’s purpose is to sustain the activities of the foundation, while at the same time offering a ground for the training of valuable skills and experiences. It is encouraging that though the farm instructors underwent just some informal training, the success of the farm is impeccable.

Bali Life Foundation exists for a worthy course that all humanities ought to consider living for. The foundation has done a commendable job within such a short time. However, due to limited resources, they still need some generous donations to continue the cause they have been doing. And this is where we must take our part. Our donations today will go a long way to expand the humanitarian support and base. Let us support this cause!

Courtesy of Bali Life Foundation
This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Indulge your ceramic interest at Jenggala Keramik

Bali is a most memorable destination hotspot for many international and local tourists. This is because the islands of Bali are graced with gorgeous and breathtaking scenery, bountiful cultures, delectable cuisines and cocktails in the various restaurants and bars and a place to explore and indulge in many watersports as amply availed by the various clear water beaches with fine white sands.

One of the reasons I was inspired to come over to Bali was to soak in all the knowledge I could regarding the vast Balinese culture. And as I went along visiting as many historical places as I could manage and talking to the indigenous people, it was brought to my attention to visit Jenggala where I could find and indulge in the Jenggala Keramik.

Jenggala Keramik is a ceramic warehouse where clay is given the utmost respect and treatment to create beautiful tableware and home ware pieces that many restaurants and homes all over Bali use. And as in the case of the international tourists, the exquisitely handcrafted products are a beautiful way to gift your friends and family back home or keep as souvenirs of your visit to Bali.

The clay for over thirty years that is used is the finest of its kind to create the wondrous formulas used to create and showcase their aesthetic products. Also various techniques are employed like casting and throwing on a potter’s wheel but for the most part are all handcrafted. The technique to be used depends on the intricacies of the product in question. A lot of time is given in the thought, design and quality control processes of each and every product. These ceramic Balinese inspired products are offered in a wide array of shapes and colors, in sets as well as in single pieces. A gallery with a wide inventory is right round the corner where anyone that wants to purchase a piece or two can go right ahead and do so. All of them are at affordable prices and there are discounts and promotions available making the shopping experience all worthwhile and interesting.

For the most part, my time at the Jenggala was spent participating in the ‘Make a Pot and ‘Color a Pot’ program that is provided by the Jenggala Keramik team to its visitors. And I must say that it was time well spent indeed in that well air conditioned space. It reminded me of all the fun I had making various home ware pieces out of soil with friends as I was a very little girl. The beauty of this program is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and sizes, as a group or as an individual. I am pretty sure that many kids preferably of three years plus get a kick out of creating something using their own hands. For the adults, I believe that aside from being a fun way to spend time with friends and family, it is a very good activity for soothing oneself and get one with nature.

Everyone is given a chance to come up with their own design idea and the staff is always there to lend a hand if needed. I love that the visitors get to test and build their creative side. You are left to your own devices and you can create a mug, a bowl, a plate and so on. These have to be fired and so will be ready after four or five days. Hence make sure that your activity is well planned for so as to get to enjoy your final ceramic pieces. Your creation can be made as beautiful as you would want for paints and glazes are provided for your use.And if anyone is interested in having a one on one class, all can be arranged. All one needs to do is ask. I have found that large parties attending these workshops and they can be as fun filled as one wants them to be. So if you want to have a birthday party or anniversary party activity, then Jenggala Keramik is the way to go. All your guests will thoroughly enjoy themselves. Payment for participation is not set but depends on the number of pieces one wants to make or paint.

However if you are also one of those people that would rather feast with your eyes rather than participate directly, it is quite alright. A viewing area is provided for you to view whatever is going on in the studios.

My love for food greatly appreciates the fact that there is a café and restaurant a few minutes’ walk from the workshop and gallery where anyone can feast on the various mouthwatering Balinese cuisines on offer. So after a hard work on your special project, it is a great place to relax and catch one’sbreath with a very good cup of coffee in hand.
All in all, a visit to the Jenggala Keramik is one that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a fun activity in Bali that will also draw them closer to Balinese history. Just make sure to secure a booking ahead of time so as not to be inconvenienced. It is also the place to be if you are looking for a venue to keep your guests entertained for whatever occasion you might have in mind. Visit Jenggala Keramik today and witness the magic.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Early Detection Saves Lives – Bali Pink Ribbon

Until recently, major studies regarding breast cancer among women was limited to the developed countries. However, the recent past studies have indicated breast cancer as one of the common type of cancer in the female population in Asia-Pacific, particularly Indonesia accounting for almost 18% of the cancer diagnoses. Based on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), cancer incidence in Indonesian women counted 134 cases per 100,000 population, where breast cancer became the highest incidence of 40 cases per 100,000 population and mortality rate for breeder in Indonesia was 16.6 death per 100,000 population. The latest WHO data indicates that breast cancer deaths in Indonesia alone account for 1.41% of all deaths in the country. Magnitude of breast cancer problems in Indonesia can be seen from breast cancer patients who come for treatment, where up to 60% of patients already in an advanced stage. Another surprising statistic is the prevalence of breast cancer among Indonesian women at under the age of 35.
Founded in 2009 by a Brit survivor, Gaye Warren, Bali Pink Ribbon has been actively promoting the vision to prevent Indonesian women from dying of breast cancer. Their main focus is to improve the quality of life and educate women regarding the preventive measures for this disease. Mass media programmes, seminars, and outreach programmes are conducted not only in Bali but across the country to support and empower women along with their families to fight the menace of breast cancer. Another important objective of Bali Pink Ribbon is to reach out to remote parts of the island to provide medical help to the patients.

Dr Dian Ekawati, the Chairman of Bali Pink Ribbon, explained that the incidence and death rate of breast cancer should be suppressed because breast cancer can be detected early. Until now, the cases found in hospitals mostly come with advanced breast cancer and a small amount comes with an early stage. Public awareness to do early detection is still lacking. Efforts awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer has been done by Bali Pink Ribbon in partnership with Prima Medika Hospital. Counselling about breast cancer and early detection followed by breast clinical examination and breast ultrasound for early detection have been done to various regions and community groups in Bali. Hopefully, the wider reach of the community in the knowledge and early detection, so the more can be pressed the number of cases of breast cancer.

The fund through donations and other charitable events received by Bali Pink Ribbon is used to spread awareness and help educate Indonesian women, especially those with breast cancer. Events such as Pink Health Day, Breast Cancer Seminar, and focussed groups are conducted regularly by Bali Pink Ribbon to achieve its objective. International visitors who are affected by breast cancer also visit these focus groups to share their knowledge and experience to Indonesian women to fight this disease. Learning from the survivors of breast cancer gives Indonesian women the courage and motivation to overcome adversities and keep up their fight against breast cancer.

Indonesia Goes Pink 2017
Carrying a theme “Indonesia Goes Pink 2017” – a 1000 Voices, Bali Pink Ribbon is collaborated with Breast Cancer Foundation from Jakarta ‘Love Pink’ and ‘Reach to Recovery’ Surabaya, supported by Oncology Hospital Surabaya, to build breast cancer awareness. This event is based on the idea that if the “Breast Cancer Awareness” movement is massively echoed in various places simultaneously, it would be wider reach of information to the public so that it could increase awareness of the dangers of breast cancer and care to keep health.

Indonesia Goes Pink is an open breast cancer care activity for warriors, survivors, relatives and family. It is a collective effort to increase public awareness of breast cancer with the series of activities consist of gathering with survivors, workshops (make up class, self-healing, learning to wear cloths), talk shows, Thousand Voices of Survivors Dinner, Pink Run, Fun Walk and ultrasound examination.

Although awareness of breast cancer has begun to spread, hopefully the knowledge of breast cancer does not stop there alone. Breast cancer is not “exclusively” specifically for women, but also the people around their lives. This is the reason why this event involves the community of runners as a form of family and relative to support the warriors who are currently struggling with breast cancer.

All participants, either warriors, survivors or supporters, can take advantage of this event to exchange information, gain knowledge, and inspire each other. It is hard for a warrior and his family to fight this disease without the support of morale as well as the much-needed knowledge in their daily struggle. This event is a container for those affected by breast cancer to encourage and work together to fight breast cancer.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine