One thing I really wanted to do when I came to Bali was give back to the place that had given me so much over the years.  Bali is such a beautiful place filled with beautiful people, environment and culture, but unfortunately both the environment,people and culture do suffer. Sometimes you only see glimpses of it but if you look deeper there is suffering beyond what you can imagine. The more research I did I realised there were only a few foundations and organisation actually helping Bali and its suffering. Through my research I was lucky enough to stumble across Role foundation. One of my beautiful girlfriends, you know who you are, suggested I watch foreign correspondent as there was going to be an episode on Bali. On foreign correspondent the founder of Role foundation Mike O’leary talked about how he was helping the island through many different projects. As soon as I arrived to Bali I went and met with Mike. Inspired by everything he did I wanted to assist. I have now been assisting Role foundation for close to a month and its a fantastic foundation doing many great things. The foundations has to main focuses Womens and Girls education and Environmental projects. Mike wanted to split the foundation into two foundations, this takes time and money so we have just split the foundations into two programs with new branding, separate books(accounting) and management. Mike believes that staff, volunteers and stakeholders can now more clear identify with a particular program and channel there energy or assistance more successfully. Therefore for the last few weeks I have been working on the launch of the two programs and today we launched Bali womens and girls international skills education (Bali WISE). I am very passionate about what we are doing at Bali WISE. We are educating up to 200 women in literacy and vocationals skills per year, but with the launch we want to be tripling these numbers. Our programs works very well and we improving  the livelihoods of many women in the community but we could do so much more, with the assistance from people from all around the world who care about Bali’s sustainability, simply by volunteering skills, donating or fundraising. Mike and I are trying to help everyone and trying to do everything but  there is only two of us, if everyone who cares about Bali could just do their little bit it would go along way and would help us so much.

I know there are many amazing foundations and charities out there and sometimes its hard to know who to help, but if you want to help in Bali than please support us. Assisting Mike has shown me that the assistance is definitely going to good cause. Being surrounded by many beautiful children and women who can not thank you enough and have a huge smiles on there face makes the hard work all the worth while, and their thanks will come your way as well if you can support us in someway.

Please read the story below that made me realise again why I am here and why I’m doing what I’m doing and why your help would be greatly appreciated so we can continue to help children like Famil.

Today I was pottering away doing some work and one of the teachers came into see me and said Anna I have a new student who would like to join the literacy class in the afternoons (this class is for the little children of the area that come from families that can’t afford to send their kids to school). Christine ( one of our teachers) said would you like to interview him or his parents and see whether he can join the class and I said yes please so Christine brings in this little chubby boy about 7 years old called Famil. He is barefoot, covered in dirt and dust hands in front of him and head down. I say ‘Hi Famil nice to meet you Apa kaba’ ( how are you?), no answer. The teacher prompts him and he says bagus (good) then all of a sudden he bows down on one knee grabs my hand and touch his forehead with my hand(sign of respect). Bless him it was so sweet. Then I met with his mother. While Christine goes to grab Famil’s mother Famil walks to the corner or the room faces the corner and does not turn around. I’m unsure of what to do and go and try and talk to him. No answer. He is one shy little thing( well so I think). Then his mother arrives a beautiful women quite young and we go through the normal interview ask questions explain how the foundation functions and when classes are etc. The reason they would like Famil to come to the foundation is because they could no longer send him to class for the rest of the year due to financial issues and they didn’t want him to loose the skills so they asked if he could attend our class. I offer Famil a position and Famil and his mother thank me and once again Famil bows down and kiss my hand and then jumps up and down saying thank you. thank you. thank you. good night good night good night. If only you could have all been there you would understand the emotions that came over me. Then tonight after a long shift working with the graphic designer i’m standing outside work waiting to get picked up and I’m contemplating my life and think damn I’m happy here and this is good life yeh i’m working hard but good life, then out of the blue I hear this Miss Anna Miss Anna Miss Anna thank you thank you thank you thank you. It is Famil on the back of his mother’s bike scooting past. I laugh and have the biggest smile from ear to ear. This is why I am here and this is why I’m doing what i’m doing.  The simple things that make you happy. Something that seemed so simple on my behalf is something massive for Famil and his family. Families here find having a son very valuable and want them to be very successful so they can support the family, for Famil not to continue his studies was devastating but we have know made their dreams for Famil possible once again.

Please check out our website at also you can find us on Facebook and I have popped our press release below for your interest.

Feel feel to contact me directly if you have any way you can assistance, it could be simple sending us some books for the children’s library, coming and visiting our cafe when your in Bali, volunteering, or donating as little as $25 a month which will pay for one more literacy student to attend our class.

Bali WISE launched to improve education for disadvantaged Balinese women

Community-based support

Literacy and vocational skills education

Job placement and social business creation

Indonesia, 24 July 2012 – The ROLE Foundation today launches Bali Women and girls International Skills Education (Bali WISE). Bali WISE is a community-based programme that will support skills education for women from some of the most deprived areas of Bali. The programme aims to improve the education of women, contribute to women empowerment, increase the skills within the community and help to reduce overall poverty.

Bali WISE estimates that over two hundred thousand women are illiterate in Bali, and close to five hundred thousand women lack the necessary vocational training required to secure a job in the current market. As traditional jobs in agriculture and fisheries have disappeared on the island in recent years, there is a need to educate women in vocational skills such as hospitality, administration and sales; and to help them find jobs.

Bali WISE will increase employment opportunities by providing literacy education, life skills and vocational training at its learning and development centre in Nusa Dua. The programme will also foster a culture of on-going learning to encourage the transfer of learnt skills from women to children so that the welfare of disadvantaged and poor families can be improved in a sustainable manner.

Mike O’Leary, CEO of ROLE and founder of Bali WISE said, “I am delighted to announce the launch of the Bali WISE programme. With the support from local and overseas companies and individuals, we are able to give back to this beautiful island in a sustainable and meaningful way through the education of women and girls.”

The Bali WISE learning and development centre has started with a programme to educate 200 women. The centre also has a café and retail shop run by students to help with their training and to raise funds, and will be holding an annual fundraising event in October 2012.

Also keep an eye out for our Island sustainability centre launch on thursday this is our other program focusing on the environmental sustainability.

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