When the island came to a sudden standstill, an NGO in Ubud refused to to do the same. With many children locked down at home, away from schools, they decided to continue their crucial educational activities to keep these children stimulated and continuously educated.

Since 2017, Begawan Foundation, a charity organisation working towards the conservation of the critically endangered Bali Starlings, runs a Breeding and Release Centre and a Learning Centre in Melinggih Kelod village, providing care for the birds and education for local students. 

Before the pandemic-led lockdown, Mondays to Fridays at the Learning Centre would normally involve literacy and numeracy activities, karate and dance lessons, waste management, cooking and gardening.

After social distancing measures took effect, Begawan Foundation shifted their ‘Learning By Doing’ programmes to a holistic ‘At Home’ learning, keeping children active and productive during the crisis. Whilst karate classes have been put to a halt, kids are having fun with home-based science experiments, house chores, also nurturing a healthy body and spirit.

This ‘new normal’ is more holistic. The education team compiled learning activities that allow students to easily follow as well as for parents to assist and participate at home, including physical exercises and time for reflection. The mini home syllabus can be applied in real life and, most importantly, is stimulating enough for them to stay active during lockdown. 

They have been using their time at home constructing a volcano, making a compass and a sundial, creating magic ink with lemon juice, conducting a floating egg experiment to understand how density works, among other hands-on projects. Their favourite moment is seeing their volcanoes erupt!

Gunung Merapi science experiment (Photo: Begawan Foundation)

To reflect, students are encouraged to do a short meditation every morning to set good intentions for the day and before bed whilst logging in their daily gratitudes in a diary. They also have been little sous-chefs in the kitchen, helping their grandmother find firewood, cultivating a healthy environment by gardening and staying fit by exercising. The stay at home lessons are giving students the opportunity to count their blessings and reduce stresses that can affect them during these unprecedented times. 

The Begawan team confided that the children are outwardly happier and grateful for simple things such as helping the family, according to their diaries.

Begawan Foundation relies on the support from its donors.

Please visit http://bit.ly/helpbegawan to support the endangered Bali Starlings and local children.

To learn more about their efforts in the conservation of Bali Starlings, visit www.facebook.com/BegawanFoundation, @begawanfoundation on Instagram or @yayasanbegawan on Twitter.