Posted by: baliliving | October 3, 2009

Inspiration from the inspired.

After reading this post, I was inspired to follow several of the points, sure not all of them because I’m not perfect. But Point number 4. (do something) particularly tweaked my interest.

Having recently had a rather heated discussion with a local about the terrible conditions in the schools here I decided to volunteer at a primary school. I suffer from dyslexia and hold the belief that it was due to a poor primary schooling, but I digress. Indonesia is (could be) an amazing country, unfortunately due to the corruption inside the government there is no state schooling, Also teaching here is still seen as a secondary career, it is very much a case of “those that can’t do, teach”.

Fortunately I have an amazing social network here and within a couple of days of me posting my availability I received an offer to come and spend some time at a primary school geared for the needs of handicapped children up to the age of 9 years.

Having thought about it in some depth before my first day, my reasons for actually doing the teaching were totally selfish; I wanted the self-satisfying feeling of giving something back, I like being able to say to friends that I volunteer, I know that brownie points will be awarded by future friends. However now I am actually a couple of weeks in I find that I‘m not taking about it much, that I‘m  really enjoying the kids energy, sure it is hard work but it is more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I have a new found admiration for teachers, who not only want to deal with this on a full time basis, but have the patients to persevere in the face of sheer adversity that is a child’s attention span.

That is definitely enough about me, if you are interested in giving something back (“not the money but something” russ cargil simpsons movie), or are just curious about learning more about what’s being done out there,  then please have a look at some of the following links.

firstly there is a company called travel to teach, based in Thailand they currently have 3 projects going in Bali and are really doing some great work with children out side the normal tourist areas. Founded by a woman called Kerstin in 2002 ‘T2T’ has slowly spread its wings and now has programs in 12 countries on 2 continents.

If teaching is not up your alley there are programs from IDEP (Indonesian Development of Education and Permaculture). Currently they are responding to the earthquakes in Sumatra and Samoa, helping the local communities get back on there feet. The amount of effort and sheer (wo)man hours needed to positively affect a disaster area is tremendous. But fortunately there are not epic disasters every day so IDEP is also heavily involved in Environmental Programs, offering courses in how to become more environmentally friendly.

Finally there is the East Bali poverty project created in 1998 by an English expat who responded to a cry for aid from an isolated mountain village in the east of Bali. The story really is one worth taking 5 minutes to read about, and I will in the future be giving some time to continue the work that is being done there.

Now for all of you out there who have never entertained the thought here is a reason why, volunteering isn’t really just volunteering, its more like paying to work! Not all but some of the charity’s that offer volunteer work are funded by the volunteers themselves. But don’t let this put you off, I am not one for donating money blindly, and certainly not to the larger American fund raising organizations. But I feel that everyone who can afford to give some time/money to these (or other) operations on the ground has some kind of moral obligation to do so?

I don’t mean to preach, believe me I’m no saint! but really Life is good, I’m just asking that you start to think about whether you could skip a round of golf, or not get that new dress and instead go do something extraordinary for someone who is considerably less fortunate than you…

Mr P.

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EDIT: please also check out Habitat for Humanity and the work they are doing in Bali. Article here.


  1. Hi,

    I recently volunteered near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia at the non-profit learning center. It was a wonderful experience, helping out with disable children in the mornings and teaching english to 8-10 years in the afternoons.
    They are doing some great work with the underprivileged Balinese children.

    more info on this project: http://www.volunteer-programs-bali-org

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