Volunteers Speak: Andy Clifton

‚ÄúI contacted an organisation called “Bali Childrens Project” and asked if they could use my services ūüôā

Tessa (my girlfriend) and I travelled with the aid of a fantastic translator/staff member of BCP to remote villages untouched by tourists mostly, where the children know little English, and ran some fun-based sport classes.

The size of the groups varied from 20 to sometimes 50 kids at once.

We played a variety of games, practiced their basic English and introduced them to some new sports like frisbee and newcombeball (a variation of volleyball). And of course gave out small prizes such as stickers and balloons.

Despite the extreme heat and sometimes difficult spaces we were using the kids had a blast and loved every second of it. 

The Bali Children’s Project is a great organisation that has built, staffed and maintained kindergartens in¬†Bali, sponsorship programs for under-privileged kids, health-awareness programs such as HIV-info sessions in remote villages, and a variety of other fantastic programs.

When Tessa and I left I also donated all the sporting equipment I had purchased to BCP, along with the program I designed specifically for this trip so that other volunteers can pick up where I left off in the future.

Feel free to visit the website and have a look, learn and maybe donate some time, clothes or a few dollars.


Our Time in Bali

By  Alejandra Domenzain

Hi Joyce:

I just wanted to give you a quick report on our time in Bali, though
I’m sure you’ve already heard from Nyoman, etc.
The garden project went really, really well. We ended up building 2
beds in front of the kindergarten and two in the elementary area in
the front of the school. It was definitely a group effort and
everything came together just right.
Kadek (Wanagiri kindergarten teacher) had family members with many
types of crops and we purchased lots of seedlings and sprouts from
them. ¬†Made (Nyoman’s brother) directed the whole building operation
(a wooden fence around the kindergarten beds since that area has a
fence around it already, and bamboo fences in the elementary school
area so¬†the chickens don’t get in there). We also bought some ready-
made compost and gardening tools for adults and children.
The children were very excited to build the garden and plant. In the
elementary school, the kids pretty much took over and we just
coordinated — everything from chopping the bamboo with a machete to
digging up the grass that was already there to hammering in and
braiding the bamboo fence to planting. They were so friendly and happy
and eager to learn English words for things as we went along. They
were a really nice balance between being silly and fun-loving but then
when something was being explained they were instantly attentive and
respectful. The teachers at the kindergarten also got right into it,
sawing wood, hammering, etc. Even a couple administrators got out and
We discussed some lesson ideas with the kindergarten teachers
and made some materials.
We also talked to Nyoman about the concept of integrating the
garden in the curriculum beyond just teaching kids about organic
gardening (for example, you can tie it into math by measuring the
growth of plants, charting it and then figuring out average growth
per month, etc.; you can record daily temperatures and rainfall
and correlate to growth; on the social studies front, you can choose
one of the plants and trace its history and cultural significance,
for example, look at the potato, who used it in ancient times, what
other cultures eat it today as a staple and what their cuisine and
customs are, etc.; in geography you can look at what regions of
the world have climates appropriate for growing each type of crop;
in economics you can look at the market price for different types
of produce and do a simulation of the costs farmers face, etc.;
of course in science there are countless connections from plant
growth and reproduction to weather to insects to the physics of
nutrients¬†in¬†the soil such as nitrogen….)¬†We left many, many
books¬†about¬†gardening¬†— some for young children we¬†gave to
the kindergarten and ones for older students and resources for
adults we gave to Nyoman.
We also talked with Nyoman about the idea of getting volunteers to
contribute in other ways such as doing workshops with teachers on how
to enrich their curriculum with lessons such as the ones listed above;
making bi-lingual materials for them to use and helping with things
such as updating the Bali Children’s Project website. We also talked
about posting flyers in area hotels about “specialized tours” to take
people beyond the tourist activities to see “the real¬†Bali” for a
reasonable charge that would go to help the projects. For example, to
learn about the school system, observe a class, meet with students,
etc. or to see what Nyoman is doing helping to build houses. The
advantage is not just raising awareness but also expanding the pool of
volunteers who may be able to contribute in some way, including giving
donations to support your work.
Regarding Sanda…..it is a truly beautiful place. My mom and I were
captivated by the view and the sunsets on the gazebo were a highlight
of our stay. All in all,we had a wonderful experience. Nyoman really took
the time to explain things to us and we learned a lot about the
culture and history of Bali through him. Ilhu was really nice and
helpful. The teachers could not have been more friendly and open.
Wayan was so much more than a driver– we had great conversations
and got to meet his wife and have dinner in his home. The kids were just
a pleasure to work with. Munduk is just breathtaking. Everyone
cooperated to get the project done.  We felt very fortunate to be part
of such an incredible team.
I am going to make an on-line album with the pictures I took and will
send you the link. I am also going to make a physical album and mail
it to you so you can send it to Bali documenting the process of
building the garden.
Thank you for offering us this great experience!! We fell in love with
Bali and hope to be able to return.


Letter from Harm

A letter from one of our volunteers

The last 4 weeks I’ve been teaching at the Bali Children’s project. It was a great experience! It was the first time for me that I was teaching as a volunteer but I loved it. Most of the year, I teach PE at a high school in the Netherlands. My name is Harm and I am 26 years old. I arranged my visa in Singapore and I flew to Bali. Eka showed me 2 different schools in Penestanan. Unfortunately the schools were finishing their last week so I started teaching a few hours a day where the office of Bali’s Childrens Project is located. Because I don’t speak any Indonesian, it was quite difficult in the beginning. I am lucky Eka was there to assist me. The children were really enthusiastic and were enjoying it a lot. It is not easy for them to learn a new language, especially when the pronunciation of the alphabet is totally different. After 1.5 weeks I changed schools and went to Gianyar. Gianyar is a town 30 minutes away from Ubud and totally different. The kids are not used to tourists and that’s why they act different than the other children. More interesting for me because most of the kids didn’t have a lot experience with English and it was possible to teach here for 2 weeks. I also invited some friends to share this wonderful experience. The kids really liked this, partly because my friends took some balloons with them and they really had fun with them. I hope these kids can improve their English, even when I am not there. I also gave them some papers with words to practice

I would like to thank Eka for her great help and wish everyone good luck with BCP!

A Volunteer‚Äôs Experience with BCP

by Oliver Jacobs

Early in 2009, after four years work in finance in the UK, I decided I wanted to make a change of career to work that encompassed a more socially beneficial element. I thought a valuable prelude to this change would be some overseas volunteer work which would draw on experience early in my career as an English Language Teacher.
Searching the internet for a suitable location and organisation I found that modern-day volunteering is big business: pay a rather large amount for a week’s or month’s experience of volunteering whilst the various organisations make a significant profit and the trail of money to areas of need dubious. In contrast, what I was keen to find was an organisation that was transparent, whose heart was in the right place and who would be able to provide channels within a culture that would allow me to be relatively independent, creative and give my time as a teacher. I would be happy to pay for all my living expenses, visas, flights and a small amount of direct funding for the projects I would work on.
For the last four months I have volunteered for the Bali Children‚Äės Project and found such an organisation. On arrival in¬†Bali, a BCP representative collected me from the airport and dropped me at the volunteer house they had in Ubud. The next day I was greeted by Kadek, the friendly Balinese co-ordinator, who informed me I would be developing English programmes in two villages. One 30 minutes from Ubud; the other an hour away. After the first week of taking me and introducing me to the villages, Kadek set me up with an English speaking assistant, Sang Made. I hired my own motorbike, learnt the routes to the villages and taught everyday with Sang Made translating. Each group was made up of around fifty enthusiastic and fun-loving children aged between 6-13. I split the classes in four age groups and would teach from¬†2pm¬†after their school day.
I typically taught using handouts I would create and photocopy before class from lessons I had taught on ESL programmes in Japan and Thailand. I would mix these with games. The villages had little to no resources so it was essential to be creative. In one of the villages we even built our own whiteboard! As my relationship with Sang Made grew, he invited me to stay with his family in rural Bali which enabled me to teach more intensively and provide sports sessions for the children in the afternoon.
Overall it has been an incredible experience. On a personal level, I have been able to experience real Balinese life and culture, the warmth of the people, see much of beautiful Bali in my free time and been thrilled to work with children again: the wonder, curiosity, playfulness, joy and lightness of it all. On a practical level my work has been well very received and the children have acquired the basics of the English Language Рan indispensable skill for the Balinese people as they continue to encounter the effects of globalization and the need to find higher paying jobs to provide for their families.
I would highly recommend getting in touch with the Bali Children’s Project if you have a decent amount of experience in something pertinent to the development of children or the women’s programmes they run. They should be able to find you an area of need and then it will be very much up to you what you create. I’ll list below some of the practical elements I encountered of being a volunteer with the BCP:
Living Expenses: $300-$1000 per month. If you are living in Ubud, you will be living within a tourist hub with access to many lovely restaurants, spas and other treats to tempt after your work. You can find accommodation from $200-$500 per month and BCP might be able to help with this. In Ubud, at a bare minimum you could live on $10 a day by eating very cheaply. When I eventually moved to rural Bali I was able to live on as little as $100 per month all in, but such conditions may not suit everyone.
Volunteer Expenses: $60 per month. This would include the rent of a motorbike and bits and pieces for your project.
Visa Expenses: Initial $100 or so in your respective country which gets you 60 days. Then $60 a month after that. BCP will introduce you to a visa sponsor who will help you through the process. The visa you get is a Social Visa (211) which is a 6 month visa. It is initially valid for 60 days and then as above you must renew it every month. The sponsor will take care of this process. The second time you renew you must go in person to immigration to give fingerprints. After 6 months you will need to exit Indonesia to get a new Social Visa.
Assistance: As a small organisation, Bali Children’s Project do the best they can to assist you but it is really up to the individual to carve their own niche with the contacts they provide. I would suggest it is not a training camp for volunteers but a channel for experienced professionals to find and area of need for their work.
Flexibility: Balinese culture is layered with an enormous amount of ceremonies and as such heavily draws on family members to contribute. Such events, at least a weekly activity, will at times disrupt any schedule your create. You should be prepared to flexible and ease into Balitime.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jessica Brown

Volunteer Jessica Brown was gracious enough to write about her experiences as an ongoing supporter of the Bali Children’s Project:¬†

Upon arriving in Bali you find yourself torn between a country divided by the actual life of the Balinese people and the booming tourism industry. I can’t even express the gratitude I feel for becoming part of the Bali Children’s Project, because through them I got to experience what Bali really is. From culture to family life I witnessed the reality for many Balinese. Although they are the most loving, connected, and open people I have ever met, many are deeply impoverished.

While there, I had the opportunity to work with children in multiple villages on making books on computers my friend and I brought, and share their story. We watched children who had never touched a computer learn to navigate, type, and explore in a matter of days. I taught english in villages near and far, in cities and the country and everywhere I was welcomed and continuously thanked. In doing so Eka, one of the most beautiful people I have ever met, introduced me to a village that desperately needed help. I was able to raise money and revamp the school, giving supplies and new paint as well as salaries for the teachers for a while. It didn’t even take much to raise that money.

BCP is a multitude of different tasks and projects, but always with the same goals. Promote education and help give people the tools to succeed in whatever way possible. To be frank, it was the best damn experience of my life.

Volunteer Spotlight: Karlien Van Rhyn

Volunteer Karlien Van Rhyn writes about her 9-week stay in Munduk and the powerful experiences she had there. 

As a now-permanent volunteer of the Bali Children’s Project, I am happy to say that I see this project working miracles helping children every day! Since my 9-week visit in March through May 2012, I have returned on a quick one day visit to Munduk recently. I am happy to report that BCP and Iluh Wilarida continue to impress me with development and ideas to keep this project alive!

My experience in Munduk has showed me peace, love, giving and a culture far beyond my expectations and I will carry and be part of this experience for as long as it is possible. It is wonderful to see how people can help in different ways. Whether you are there for a week, month or year (or NOT even there) there are many ways you can
create opportunities for children to have an educated future! 

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world ~Nelson Mandela

With this project I’m hoping to involve and inform more volunteers to become actively interested to see where help is needed. With the help of volunteers and sponsors we give many children the opportunity to attend school and also better their education experience with teaching skills and the English language!

Thank you to Joyce Scott, Iluh Wilarida, and the rest of the BCP team to have shown me a way of life and giving that has changed my life as well as so many others!