The education system in Bali is not at the best place right now. Despite the fact that tourism is growing it doesn’t change the fact that there still are a huge number of school-age children not attending school. Mostly, it is because of their poor economic background. There is a huge gap between the children getting the education in the urban areas as compared to the rural areas. Many schools in the villages are under-resourced with a very poor physical condition. Children are used to studying under a leaking roof using broken furniture.
At the same time, teachers often struggle under rudimentary conditions with educational materials and teaching aids. Apart from that, children sometimes have no option other than working on the land to support their family. This inconvenient truth triggers a very high drop-out rate in rural primary schools.
Bali Children Foundation is one of many charitable organisations catering to the needs of children on this island. Through their various initiatives, they create an educational pathway for underprivileged children by providing a journey, from junior schools until graduate, leading to their growth and long-term sustainability. Margaret Barry is the person behind this good deed. She had no experience in education or international development when she started the foundation 15 years ago. However, for her dedication and services to education, she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in Melbourne last January.
Focusing on the north and west remote areas of Bali, Bali Children Foundation has supported over 1,100 children through a scholarship programme. This scholarship contributes to school fees, uniforms, shoes, books, bags, stationery and all the basic needs to support a child through their education. The foundation has chalked out some other detailed and inclusive programmes to help the Balinese community with their much-needed education. In 2008, their work expanded to community education and the establishment of village projects. Whilst assisting children’s education via sustainable solutions, they also managed to run Children’s Homes (formerly called Orphanages). Here, they discovered that with functional English, even non-academic children had better employment opportunities. With that fact, they started the first English language project in the village.
Obtaining internet access in the remote area was very challenging, but due to the rising need of computers as a main teaching tool nowadays, Bali Children Foundation introduced the Computers in the Village and computers in the orphanage programmes. The computer lessons are a direct teaching initiative with two classes per week offered to junior and senior high school students. In total, 256 classes per month are provided for the children. Over 3,700 students are currently enrolled in these programmes, which provide the skillsets needed for Bali’s growing economy.
The main focus of Bali Children Foundation is to ensure that the children graduate and get decent jobs. For that reason, their support extends into life after school. The graduates are mentored through the Work Ready programme to prepare them for situations in the workplace. Once employed, those graduates will be guided through the first year of the job to make sure they are able to apply what they have learned. Through this experience, students can enrich the lives of their family and ensure the welfare of their community.
We can mark our share of contribution in quite a few ways. By being a dedicated sponsor, we can help a child to stay at school, finish high school, get employment or go on to the university. We can also choose to make a generous donation to support their programmes and projects. If teaching is what you are good at, they need qualified teachers for English, Computer, Art and Music programmes.
Every small contribution counts to ensure that Bali Children Foundation continues to provide educational opportunities to the disadvantaged children of Bali. This is the least we can do to break the cycle of poverty and improve prospects for future generations. Let us join hands together and pledge to take care of the future of Bali.
Bali Children Foundation
Address : Jalan Raya Kesambi #369, Kerobokan
Phone : +62 851 00648400
Website : www.balichildrenfoundation.org