Underneath the glamorous life of Bali, there is another layer of this island that many of us are not aware of or decide to ignore; the enormous scale of poverty. Extreme poverty forces these unfortunate people to struggle with daily life, even down to the most basic food necessities. It is not easy to find these people because they don’t have access to platforms to be seen by the outside world. They remain unseen living in the villages of the remote areas.
Due to their economic conditions, they lack nutrition, vitamin and protein, which affects their mental, physical, emotional and social health. So many children and adults have medical threats, many of them are severely disabled, with no access to healthcare. Some have even never seen a doctor, despite suffering serious ailments.
NGOs are working hard to locate the people who are in dire need of help. Formed in 2010 by Robert Epstone, Yayasan Solemen Indonesia is one of the organisations that helps turn lives around for those who have disabilities and disadvantages by providing medical care, therapy, treatment and ongoing support. With a mandate to care for the least fortunate people on this island, Solemen’s great Outreach Programme touches many people in remote communities whose lives are tainted by the misery of untreated diseases, disability, extreme poverty, malnourishment and destitution. Focusing on providing effective and targeted help, they support those who suffer from destructive diseases, those who need crucial medical intervention and ongoing therapy. Solemen is an inspiring charity that, despite a tight budget and an ever-increasing caseload, puts all their efforts and funding towards making a dramatic difference in the lives of the forgotten disadvantaged. Solemen sells a wide range of products, including t-shirts, caps, singlets, bracelets, gift books, supplements, bracelets and wristband. You can purchase these items online at www.solemen.org/shop.
Focusing on craniofacial disabilities, Yayasan Senyum Bali was founded in 2005 by Mary Northmore who is committed to bringing health care to people with craniofacial abnormalities in Bali, Lombok and further east of Indonesia. This organisation facilitates operations for cleft lip, palate and other craniofacial deformities, due to birth defects, accidents or tumours. To locate the poor people living in very remote villages with no access to this information, they send out a research team to these places and offer a stress-free solution by bringing the patients with their trusted relatives as a group to be housed at the Smile House in Denpasar.
At this care centre, there are pre-op procedures to be done at the nearby hospitals before surgery takes place. After the surgery, patients are suggested to stay at the Smile House for a similar period of recuperation before returning to their villages. During this period of their stay, patients and their escorts (family member) are provided full board. To meet the needs of the patients as well as the operational costs, Yayasan Senyum Bali built two charity shops in Ubud selling preloved items from donations.
A devastating fact coming from the Health Ministry of Indonesia states that, due to the poverty and weak economic conditions, almost 2% of the overall population in Indonesia suffer from eye conditions. It also mentions that cataract is causing a majority of the blindness among Indonesians. With that background, The John Fawcett Foundation (JFF) was founded by John Fawcett with a single vision to eradicate blindness and reduce its effect among the Indonesian people. He believed that blindness can be cured through proper treatments. The first project started in 1991, offering free cataract surgery for disadvantaged people in a mobile eye clinic.
Committed to its mission to identify and operate on as many Indonesian’s blind with cataracts as they can, the JFF experienced team reaches out to far-flung places and travels deep into the island’s remote villages to locate village people who are troubled by eye problems. This action is beneficial for those who live in weak economic conditions. Through their Village Mobile Eye Clinics programme, not only do children get humanitarian support but also adults suffering from visual impairments.
They bring along ophthalmologists and nurses so those who are blind with cataracts can be operated on the spot in a safe, sterile ophthalmic theatre. Other than free surgery, this programme also offers eye screening, medicines, treatments and free glasses. This cost-efficient option of treatment ensures that there is a transformation in the lives of disadvantaged people living in remote places. Up to this day, JFF has given more than 40,000 cataract surgeries and over a million patients screened.
Another overwhelming data from the World Health Organisation, published in 2017, indicates that breast cancer deaths in Indonesia are above 1% of the total deaths in the country. Based on Dharmais Cancer Hospital, the data showed patients with breast cancer was ranked first in the last 10 years, tallied until 2016. Almost 40% of cases recorded are breast cancer and the number of cases each year increases. Surprisingly, the statistic has shown that Indonesian women under 35 are at a bigger risk of getting breast cancer.
The incidence and death rate of breast cancer should be suppressed because breast cancer can be detected early. However, public awareness in early detection is still lacking. This is the main reason why NGO’s like Bali Pink Ribbon has been actively promoting its vision to prevent Indonesian women from dying of breast cancer. Founded by a Brit survivor of breast cancer in 2009, Gaye Warren, Bali Pink Ribbon is focusing on how to improve the quality of life by giving a proper education regarding the preventive measures for this disease. A partnership with Prima Medika Hospital, they raise awareness to various regions and community groups in Bali about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Counselling about breast cancer, followed by breast clinical examination and breast ultrasound for early detection, have been done actively to reduce the number of cases. Outreach programmes to spread the awareness are also conducted to reach out to the remote parts of the island.
How to Support
There are so many other things that these NGOs can do to change lives, but their works are restricted due to a lack of sustainable funding. To help their programmes, the foundations look forward to generous donations through monetary or materialistic means. Unfortunately, most of the times we don’t realise how impactful our pocket change can be. Size doesn’t matter. Even small change is welcomed, their outreach programmes look to rapidly grow much larger and reach more people in need.
Yayasan Solemen Indonesia
Direct Payment donation
Bank: Permata Bank
Account Number: 702065666 (IDR)
Beneficiary: Yayasan Solemen Indonesia
Aquaphor Healing Ointment, DuoDERM® CGF® dressing, DuoDERM® Extra Thin Dressing, DuoDERM® Hydroactive Sterile Gel, Melolin Dressing, POLY VISC® Lubricating Eye Ointment, QV Cream, QV Wash, Ensure® Original Nutrition Powder, PediaSure’s complete Balanced Nutrition®, Paraffin, Sudocrem, Vitamin E, Pure Glycerin, Colostomy Bags, Jelonets, Adult Wheelchairs, Pushchairs, Nappies (For children and for adults), foodstuff (non-perishable), Clothing, Toys, Stationery, Bicycles, Phones, Laptops
More detail on how you can support, please visit www.solemen.org/donate
Address: Jalan Danau Poso No.55, Belanjong, Sanur
Phone: +62 812 37206220
Yayasan Senyum Bali
Direct Payment donation
Bank: BCA Bank
Account Number: 1350300011 (IDR)
Beneficiary: YAY Senyum Bali
Clothing, shoes, accessories, linen, books and household goods
More detail on how you can support, please visit www.senyumbali.org/how-can-you-help.php
Smile Shop Ubud at Jalan Nyuh Kuning, Pengosekan, Ubud
Smile Shop Sanur at Jalan Pantai Sindu No.3, Sanur
Address: Jalan Pulau Aru No.9, Sanglah, Denpasar
Phone: +62 361 233758
John Fawcett Foundation
Direct Payment donation
Bank: Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI)
Account Number: 0400535373 (IDR)
Beneficiary: Yayasan John Fawcett Indonesia
More detail on how you can support, please visit www.johnfawcett.org/support-our-projects
Address: Jalan Pengembak No.16, Blanjong, Sanur
Phone: +62 361 270812
Bali Pink Ribbon
Direct Payment donation
Bank: BCA Bank
Account Number: 7680374001 (IDR)
Beneficiary: Yayasan Pita Merah Muda Bali
More detail on how you can support, please visit www.balipinkribbon.com/sponsorship
Address: Jalan Nusa Kambangan No.179, Dauh Puri Kauh, Denpasar
Phone: +62 361 4746238