Established in 1998, East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) is a non-profit organisation with the focus on the village people in the east side on Bali. Village Ban is one of their ongoing projects. It is the most remote and disadvantaged village in Bali, located on the steep and dry eastern slopes of Mount Agung and Mount Abang. Reaching this area is a fair challenge. On the road to Besakih Temple, take a left turn to penetrate the protected forests of Mount Agung, negotiating narrow and winding sandy tracks, just enough for one sturdy car. It is actually not a road but a path the water has carved when it rains, which is used by the residents around the forest to get grass for feeding their cows. The village of Ban is located right after the protected forest.
When the EBPP started in 1998 after request by the village for help, basic facilities were not available in this part of the island. No road, electricity, water supply, not even phone line or cellphone signal. As for natural resource, they don’t have rivers or paddy fields. Rain water is the only major source of water they can rely on. There is a dirt road that cuts across the village, but that is actually a valley between Mount Agung and Mount Abang. This access is comprised of sandy and rocky slopes that get flash flooded when it rains or when rain occurs only at the Mount Agung slope. If this happens, the people of Ban are unable to leave their hamlets until the water receded.
Deeper on the dirt road to the other end side of the village, there is Jatituhu, one of the hamlets in Ban village. More than 100 families live here in a housing compound with only approximately 10 to 15 houses close to each other in a central area. The houses are small and made from bamboo bedeg. Children run around with no clothes on and bare foot.
It is hard to believe that it was already 18 years ago. But not much has changed in the lives of the Jatituhu people at the present day, except now they have electricity, a better road, a water reservoir, toilets, more a more active Posyandu and education for their children. The last four are the EBPP programmes with Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) elimination as their first programme in 2001 as the goitre rate reached 84.5%.
In Jatituhu, EBPP made their contribution to build up basic facilities such as a water reservoir, health facilities and toilets. In 2005, they started the children’s education programme in Jatituhu after starting the other 4 education programmes in the others 4 hamlets in Ban villages. The closest elementary school for Jatituhu is located in the Temakung hamlet, 5 kilometres away accessed by a footpath. At that time most of the children of school age did not attend school. The distance to the nearest junior high school was around 15 kilometres.
Since the launch of their first hamlet school in Bunga on 1999, EBPP now manages 6 remote schools in the hamlets of Bunga (1999), Cegi (2000), Pengalusan (2000), Manikaji (2001), Jatituhu (2005) and Darmaji (2007). They manage programmes for Elementary, Junior High and Senior High School level in these 6 hamlets of Village Ban. Up to this day, EBPP has educated more than 1,000 children in their 6 schools.
These children are not only studying the national mandatory subjects in the class, but they are also integrating the life skills they need to empower them for a better future. The main subjects of the study at the elementary level include health, hygiene, sanitation, art, music and Balinese dance. For junior and senior high school students, they are also learning nutrition, reproductive health, computer & financial literacy, job applications & life skills. Bamboo handicraft is a mandatory study in EBPP programme. With their latest programme, EPBB aims to empower the students to create their own bamboo business so they don’t have to leave their village to find a job. Their future is in their own village.
At the moment, EBPP is struggling with the limited funds to continue these education programmes. They need funding to continue the primary and secondary school education in these remote hamlets. Having a proper level of education will help them access a better future. “Help us to help them help themselves.”
East Bali Poverty Project
T : +62 361 410071
W : www.eastbalipovertyproject.org