SEWICKLEY, Pennsylvania — Indonesia is a country full of diverse cultures and natural beauty. However, beneath its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant traditions lies a significant struggle with poverty. Within this sprawling nation, boasting a population exceeding 274 million and standing as the world’s fourth-most populous, approximately 9.5% or 26 million individuals grapple with the stark realities of poverty. The intricate web of challenges surrounding poverty in Indonesia, as revealed by compelling data, is deeply entwined with economic inequality and uneven development.
Remarkably, despite Indonesia’s stature as a burgeoning global economy, a substantial segment of its populace still contends with restricted access to fundamental necessities. The nation’s efforts to combat this deeply entrenched issue are frequently hampered by a combination of obstacles, including geographic isolation, disparate infrastructure and economic disparities.
The Bali Life Foundation
The Bali Life Foundation traces back to a moment when a couple, Siska and Brad, met a 9-year-old Balinese boy navigating the unforgiving streets of Kuta. This encounter ultimately drove their desire to create a profound difference in the lives of Indonesia’s children and orphans. It was an inspiration born from a heartfelt connection, an aspiration to instill hope where it had been diminished and to extend a helping hand to those left vulnerable.
In an interview with the Borgen Project, the Director of Bali Life, Piter Panjaitan, remarked on the couple’s experience: “While they couldn’t take that young boy in at the time due to their circumstances, the experience motivated them to create a safe haven for these children.” This unwavering determination led to the establishment of the Bali Life Children’s Home in 2006, nurtured by the support of a compassionate businessman who shared their vision. This journey was set in motion by an aspiration to offer hope, dignity and purpose.
Key Programs of Bali Life Foundation
- Children’s Home: Providing shelter, education, health care and guidance for orphaned and abandoned children, offering them an opportunity to flourish.
- Street Kids Center: Empowering street children and families through education and work opportunities, the center offers informal schooling and vocational training.
- Disaster Relief Program: Responding to the urgent needs of communities affected by natural disasters, the foundation ensures access to essentials like food, shelter and medical supplies.
- Suwung Community Centre: Focused on education, empowerment and medical support, this initiative breaks the cycle for children and families in marginalized areas.
- Community Empowerment: Providing education and essential supplies to local communities, the foundation stands as a pillar of support during crises like the Mt. Agung eruption, the Lombok earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bali Life Foundation’s transformative mission is fueled by a powerful blend of education, hope, dignity and purpose. These pillars are interwoven to create a holistic framework for driving positive change and uplifting lives.
Within the foundation’s nurturing embrace, education holds the key to breaking free from the cycle of poverty, offering individuals the tools to shape their destinies. The Children’s Home exemplifies this commitment by providing not only shelter but also education and health care to orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. Education extends beyond traditional classroom walls, encompassing workshops and immersive learning experiences that equip young minds with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive.
Central to the Bali Life Foundation’s ethos is the promise of “hope, dignity and purpose.” Through the Children’s Home, the foundation cultivates an environment where children are empowered to become self-reliant and active contributors to their communities. By nurturing their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, the foundation fosters a sense of dignity that transcends adversity. This empowerment is coupled with the cultivation of purpose – a profound understanding that each individual has a unique role to play in building a better world.
The Street Kids Center embodies the foundation’s commitment to empowerment through education. By providing informal schooling and vocational training, the center enables street children to escape the confines of their challenging circumstances and envision a future beyond the streets. This commitment to education ripples through the Suwung Community Centre, where education becomes a beacon of hope for families living amidst adversity.
Empowering change is not merely a mission for the Bali Life Foundation; it’s a way of life. Education, hope, dignity and purpose converge to form a powerful force that propels lives forward. As the foundation paves the path for a brighter future, it invites all to join hands in this transformative journey, empowering change in one heart, one mind and one life at a time.
Bali Life Foundation’s Future
The Bali Life Foundation’s overarching vision embodies lasting change in the lives it touches. Director Piter Panjaitan’s aspirations to educate 10,000 children in a decade reflect an unwavering commitment to offer hope, dignity and purpose. The foundation invites all to join hands, weaving a tapestry of transformation and propelling change, one step at a time.
– Elizabeth Watters