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, immediately started 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 it was their only chance to be educated. By 2005, together with Agung Sutama (Ketua Yayasan Samiarsa Seminyak), they took their first steps towards working in communities. With only a small volunteer team, they established their first community based project with 40 scholarships in the Corot Village, North Bali. Her main vision was to educate students until graduation, to help them find good jobs so that eventually they could provide income for themselves, their families and their communities. Margaret believes this is a sustainable model which will help Bali’s marginalized become self-sufficient.
All of the students they sponsor must attend ‘Work Ready’ mentoring classes to prepare them for their work or university futures. 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 a banjar (village hall) of 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 concluded that reasonable English language skills provide access to better paying work compared to 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 also encourages the hospitality industry to contact them regarding work opportunities. For readers living in Bali or abroad, Bali Children Foundation is always appreciative of your help in sponsoring a child’s future here in Bali.
Bali Children Foundation
Pertokoan Semer Jaya Kav 3-4, Jalan Raya Kerobokan
P: (+62-361) 8475 399