With a struggling island economy, there are many people, communities and organisations currently in need. However, as more hands are raised in the developed areas, the calls for help from Bali’s rural fringes, like Amed, are being heard less and less.
One of the most difficult parts of donating to charitable causes, especially now with the ensuing pandemic, is choosing which cause to donate to. Even prior to the effects of Covid-19, many excellent organisations in Bali have been working to improve the conditions of a particular area in need, from poverty alleviation to children’s education and animal welfare. All are worthwhile, “but which of them am I able to support with my donation?”, you might ask yourself.
Things have become increasingly challenging, because whilst all of these existing organisations continue to do their good work, new and immediate needs have sprung up too, calling for donations to support the recently unemployed with the one of the most basic human needs: food security.
About Yayasan Team Action Amed
With this, Yayasan Team Action Amed — a non-profit organisation operating in the distant fishing village of Amed, east Bali — have noted that the growing needs of populated south and central Bali has meant rural areas are being pushed further into the fringe, and thus help is harder to come by.
The organisation started by accident back in September 2017, when the eruption of Mt.Agung saw thousands of people evacuating and seeking refuge in and around the coastal town. Even then, little (or delayed) support was given to these temporary refugees and so a group of volunteers made up of local Balinese and expatriates formed ‘Team Action Amed’. They raised money and donated food, clothing, bedding, toiletries, health care and even made temporary shelters.
East Bali, having less fertile land and also not benefitting much from the tourist industry, sees some of the most impoverished individuals and families on the island. So even after the evacuees left, the group of volunteers continued their outreach work in the area, supporting communities in dire need, providing medical support and transport (with the help of Solemen Indonesia), food parcels, education sponsorship and general support and development for people’s wellbeing and livelihoods. In July 2018, the group ‘made it official’, registering as a foundation with the name Yayasan Team Action Amed.
Through the pandemic, like every other area in Bali, Yayasan Team Action Amed have seen an increasing number of people in need of their help in the greater Amed area, on top of those they had been supporting in general. Every weekend, the team sets out to provide food to the isolated communities branching out across the area. They must spend up to IDR 8.000.000 in transportation costs alone to achieve this.
Their on-going community care includes a lot of medical assistance too. There are highly isolated individuals who who simply have no access to medical care, nor know who to ask for it.
“One man fell from a tree while working and became a paraplegic, he lay for months in one position on his mattress on the floor. He developed such deep infected bedsores that he was hospitalised for 10 days and continues to require daily dressing changes,” shares Michele Yoga, Chairperson and Founding member of the foundation, showcasing the little attention people receive in these hard-to-reach areas. “We have come across a family who were all sharing a bed frame to sleep. Literally a bed frame, as they could not even afford a mattress.”
These are but some examples of the extreme difficulties people face in East Bali, regardless of the pandemic. Currently the foundation supports over 80 ongoing cases; for rice and food this amounts to around IDR 42 Million, with additional transportation for food at IDR 2 Million and and medical transportation costs varying from IDR 1 – 5 Million. These are all of their core operations, with additional costs when they run a Plastic Exchange program.
In November 2020, Yayasan Team Action Amed partnered with Plastic Exchange, a successful program started by Balinese local Made Janur Yasa whereby communities could trade collected plastic waste or litter for bags of rice. Since then, the program has led to 70 tons of plastic being collected around Amed, and 15 tons of rice or provisions provided. This has helped Team Action Amed’s efforts in fairly distributing goods whilst simultaneously giving people a sense of work, dignity and environmental awareness.
Amed is rarely on top of the people’s mind when visiting Bali. The fishing village has become a great diving commune, with dive centres and retreats lining the roads. It is the resident divers of Bali — and those looking for a distant escape — that have brought in some outside income to the area. When it comes to raising funds, Amed is again not at the front of people’s minds, especially with growing needs in Bali’s more populous areas.
With the generosity of nearby communities, online donations from Amed and Bali lovers and those who have been supporting the foundation over the years, Yasayan Team Action Amed have been able to continue their great work — but they, and east Bali, could always use more support.They only take on new cases when there is enough financial support, and there are still a lot of cases who need help. Furthermore, all who are part of the foundation are purely volunteers, thus there are no salary costs or administration costs, all of the money donated is used to help those in need directly.
How can you help?
1. Join a Fundraiser, 10 August 2021
If you’re in Bali, why not join this amazing fundraiser on 10 August 2021. Organised by Bali Reef Divers and Kura Kura Divers Lodge.
In the morning there will be a diving activities with all profits being donated to the foundation: two guided fun dives (for certified divers), scuba for beginners or an introduction to free diving. Each have different prices.
In the afternoon, 2pm-5pm, a collection of Bali’s top restaurants are banding together to create an epic gourmet lunch! This includes the likes of Aperitif Bali, Mauri, Mason, Barbarossa, Riung Rasa, Sangsaka, PICA and Fabricca. Price is IDR 450.000 per person (max 50 people). For info: firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp +628587677255.
2. Donate directly to the foundation
There are many cases in Amed that could use your help. Donations vary from $10 a month to keep a child in school, to $80 a month to feed a family of 4, or larger donations are warmly accepted too to help in larger projects that the Yayasan are attending too (such as renovating rundown homes etc).