Fena Evans Bali Wise Role Foundation

Truly embodying the vision of Hari Kartini, Bali WISE (Women of Indonesia Skills Education) has educated over 1750 women since its inception in 2007. Working closely with NGOs, orphanages and local schools, Bali WISE identifies marginalised and at-risk women who need help and will benefit from a life-changing skills education.

“We invest in people who want a better future and life and strive to recruit those who desire it,” shares Fena Evans, Executive Director of ROLE Foundation, under which the Bali WISE program runs. Fena joined ROLE as an intern during her studies back in 2012, the BALI Wise program wasn’t running effectively but Fena believed in its mission, drawn by the potential she knew it would have on young women. Convincing ROLE’s founder to keep the program going until she graduated, she promised to return to make it a success.

“I did not know what to do, but I strongly believed I could do something good,” adds the strong-willed director. “I reached out to potential education partners and asked them to help me design a hospitality curriculum training program. The response was terrific, and we have been fine-tuning our program with the guidance of industry practitioners ever since.”

Though only six months long, the program produces superb results, with women transformed with new practical and life skills, plus, crucially, a real confidence in their own ability. The first half of the program is training at their Nusa Dua centre, providing a range of classes from basic hospitality workshops, to marketing, family planning, financial management and job interview skills.

For the next three months, students are given real practical training in a business, normally a hotel. Bali WISE even secures job placements for them after graduation. Importantly, students are supported throughout the program, provided with accommodation, meals, uniforms, learning materials and even a small monthly allowance (up to IDR 600.000, which many send to their families).

“85% of the graduates find quality employment… Most graduates invest between 30-40% of their income to support their families,” shares Fena. Graduates returning to their village often serve as role models, encouraging more young women to join the program.

“I witness the transformations in the lives of the young women we support—I see how they grow, improve, and empower their families. Every student I work with learns that each of us can create and make a positive impact. They are like candles; we ignite them, teach them how to maintain the fire, and encourage them to take care of themselves and to share the light with others in need.”

Right now, Bali WISE is working to improve its facilities in Nusa Dua, which currently only has one classroom and dormitory. They are hoping to renovate and establish real school infrastructure with more rooms, classrooms and offices. “What we’ve already achieved with our current infrastructure might be even greater if we can enlarge our facilities and thus increase our impact.”

Bali WISE is currently working on its annual “Row for R.O.L.E. 3.0” Canoe race fundraising event. It is a 13+ km race from Sanur to Nusa Dua, taking place on 27 April 2024. The funds will be used to support the education of 100 young women as part of their 2024 programme. Participants can join this personal challenge and help make a difference: https://rolefoundation.org/rowforrole2024/

@baliwise | baliwise.org

Edward Speirs

Edward Speirs

Edward, or Eddy as he prefers to be called, is the Managing Editor of NOW! Bali and host of the NOW! Bali Podcast. He enjoys photography, rural travel and loves that his work introduces him to people from all walks of life.