As said by Dr. Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not”. The obvious reference in this context is caring for the children’s welfare and giving them an opportunity to lead a normal life on the Island of Bali.
Though there has been some progress in children’s education in Bali, there still remains a concern as only 27 million children attend school in Indonesia and a lesser percentage on this island itself. The dropout rates for primary education for the children in Bali have decreased to less than 1 percent, but there are still a lot of things to achieve in terms of providing them with proper education, food, and medical attention.
There is a huge gap between the children getting education in urban areas as compared to the rural areas, and this number stands at a staggering 15% overall. Quality of education for children is also a concern as the higher repetition rates indicates that one out of every ten children that gets the primary education has to repeat the education, and more often than not drops out of school to support their family.
If you travel around this island, it is easy to witness children selling things like bracelets, fruits, and other items to earn a living and support their family. These children come from families with extreme poverty, and the only source of income is by selling things to tourists. Due to lack of education, the option to earn a living is very limited for them.
That is why to break this vicious cycle there is a need to educate these children and give them an option to look at better employment opportunities later in life. Though there are government schools where education is free, but the other costs related to uniforms, books, school bags, and other stationery items make it difficult for families to afford the expenditure and send their children to school. Again, despite the presence of a compulsory education programme in the country, Bali still continues to struggle with a huge number of school-age children not being able to attend or continue their education due to location, economic conditions, and cultural factors.
Though there are several charitable organisations catering to the needs of children, Bali Children Foundation (BCF) is doing a remarkable job in helping children through its various initiatives. The main focus of this charity organization is to help children with education opportunities from junior schools till they graduate, and obtain the necessary skills for employment.
In addition to teaching English, BCF also engage in offering sufficient computer instructions to children. Such skills along with education are what employers demand, and will help the children earn a decent living when they reach adulthood. The foundation has over the years assisted school districts with particularly high dropout rates to improve retention and improve the quality of education that these children deserve taking care of the costs and removing the burden of extra expenditure from the economically backward communities.
Since established in 2002, BCF has grown from delivering education opportunities to 45 students to over three thousand students in 45 communities. In these communities, BCF has directly lowered dropout rates after primary school from 60% to 3%, which means communities in which 50% of the population were functionally illiterate now have educated, employed, well-paid young people with great futures to look forward to. Starting July 2017, BCF will be offering education opportunities to 3,300 students in Bali Region. They have been blessed with strong and consistent support from their partner foundations and the businesses of Bali.
BCF work at Kayu Putih in north Bali continues to expand with strong support from Motel Mexicola. Motel Mexicola sponsorship supports school fees, books, bags, shoes, socks and hygiene kits for 19 children, known as ‘Mexicola Kids’ and also helps to provide key skill sets within the community with computer and English classes. In this programme, year 12 students are mentored into a work-ready environment providing pathways into employment.
BCF also offers extensive mentoring programmes for those children who are attending schools at present to understand and take care of their needs. All this has helped the foundation achieve excellent results as several hundreds of the students have gone on to graduate and find decent employment. Another focussed initiative is the pledge that senior students who have benefited from the foundation programme take to give back to their communities.
Scholarships are offered on need basis after the economic status and circumstances of the family is analysed by the foundation members and senior students. Senior students of the foundation help reach out to remote villages and provide assistance as necessary to help the foundation achieve its goal.
It is never too late to start something good and it is never a bad time to help the needy. After all, small drops of water eventually form a big ocean.
To help a child, even in the smallest possible way, can make an enormous difference in their lives. The Balinese children are in real need of funding. You might think the amount you are contributing might not make a difference, but be rest assured it will. You can sponsor the scholarships provided at Bali Children Foundation or make small contributions towards their food, uniform, books and other such amenities. So, let us join hands and pledge to take care of the future of Balinese children. “All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and somebody who believes in them.”
Bali Children Foundation
A : Jalan Raya Kesambi 369, Kerobokan, North Kuta
T : +62 851 0064 8400
W : www.balichildrenfoundation.org