Friday, January 15, 2016

Courtesy of Bali Children Foundation

A pair of hands for the kids
Bali Children Foundation (Yayasan Samiarsa Seminyak) provides educational opportunities for disadvantaged children in Bali. Working mostly in North and West Bali, the foundation offers education scholarships for over a thousand children at school, about 40 in University and delivers English teaching and Computer studies classes to over 1,500 children in 36 communities. While the foundation supports education opportunities in six children’s homes around Bali, the majority of the work is in Bali’s rural communities.  
As the founder of Bali Children Foundation, Margaret Barry, started almost immediately working in a children’s home in North Bali and later another in West Bali. Working this way, she developed an understanding of the families who sent their children to these homes, as their only chance to be educated. By 2005, together with Agung Sutama (Ketua Yayasan Samiarsa Seminyak), they took the first steps towards working in communities. In a small volunteer team, they established their first community based project with 40 scholarships in the Village of Corot, North Bali. Her main vision was to educate students until graduation, to help them finding good jobs so they eventually can provide income for themselves, their families and their communities. She believes this is a sustainable model which would keep Bali safe. 
All of the students they sponsor must attend ‘Work Ready’ mentoring classes to prepare them for their work or university future. Their students stay in mentoring until they have secured a good job. To cover this number of students and communities, Bali Children Foundation have a team of local staff and teachers working from the office in Banjar North Bali. Besides the skilled staff, they have ‘monitors’ in each community who remind the children about their English or Computer studies class times and who are there to lend a hand if a student is having any problems managing their school life.

They also work closely with partners who cover areas they do not. Most importantly Bali Kids who provide health checks, health education and dental care. They assist Bali Kids with aspects of their work, including funding their dental program and fully cover the health needs in the communities.
Looking forward, they are planning to extend their English programs into remote schools which cannot afford to establish their own English Language Programs. From their work in the North and the West, they have established that reasonable English language skills provide access to better paying work that any other model they have trialed to date. Bali Kids have agreed to support this initiative and will be providing health education including HIV awareness into this ever growing list of communities.

Their biggest challenge moving forwards will be funding all these initiatives and providing job opportunities for the growing number of graduates. They expect 85 graduates in 2016 and 127 graduates in 2017. To ensure employment for these numbers, they need strong partnerships with businesses who will be the future employers of the students. Bali Children Foundation would encourage hospitality industry to contact us regarding work opportunities. For readers living in Bali or outside, sponsoring a child’s education is very satisfying.

Bali Children Foundation
Address: Pertokoan Semer Jaya Kav 3-4, Jl Raya Kerobokan, Kerobokan, Bali, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 8475399