Bali Memoirs Part 2: The Orphanage

Last year when my cousin Karine & I came to Bali, we found these beautiful hand-made dolls in a shop. When we realized they were made by children of an orphanage and all proceeds of the sale went to them, we bought a ton as gifts. I decided I would seek out this orphanage and go visit them at some point. Today, a year later, I went to visit the orphanage called Yayasan Kasih Peduli Anak.

The orphanage houses a total of 28 children. It provides them with shelter, food, and education. Each child has a sponsor and currently 4 of them are waiting for sponsorship. The dolls are made in their art classes as a craft and also by the staff, when sold and all the money goes back into the orphanage.

I had a long conversation with the woman who started the Yayasan, (the Indonesia word for Foundation). She started by taking kids she’d see begging on the streets into her own home and taking care of them. Slowly more and more children started coming in and eventually through sponsorship funding she was able to acquire a building to house them. I must say the living conditions would still be considered fairly rough compared to what we have in the United States. For example bunk beds, about 6 children in 1 very small room. But considering they would probably be on the streets, begging, no education, its still seems to be a better alternative.

Education is only paid up to 5th grade by the Indonesian government  but still costs about $20 a month for a child to go to school. This includes costs that aren’t covered like books, building use, even desk use, (yes they charge a desk use), uniforms, transportation to and from school. Poor families cannot afford this given the average income is about $100 a month in Bali.  Therefore some kids end up on the streets begging, to bring home money.

Each and every one of the children in the orphanage have a story. The stories could probably fill the pages of a large book considering most were still fairly young. I highly recommend visiting an orphanage someday. It puts a lot of things into perspective and all your daily worries seem miniscule. All I wanted to do was drop everything I’m doing and care for these children. They were so happy to see me and one by one came in to say hello and introduce themselves. The smiles on their faces were unbelievable! Instant warming of the heart.

Its been a dream of mine to give back to Bali in some way. Especially the children. I have a feeling something very big is in store for BEL KAZAN. Some sort of partnership with an organization. More to come on that subject…..

I absolutely fell in love with this little girl I’m photographed with. Apparently she doesn’t let anyone hold her but she warmed up to me right away and I loved spending time with her. She was the youngest and was abandoned by her Mother. The teachers said the older children all take turns taking care of her.

Here are some photos from my visit: