When we were planning for our holiday, we discussed the option of bringing a suitcase of the twinlets’ old clothes and handing it over as a donation to an orphanage or hospital.
Unfortunately, chaos and disorganisation ended up overriding any chance of cementing our plans. With it being our first family overseas holiday, we were lucky that a lost wallet was the worse that happened in getting our shizz together at the international terminal.
Arriving in Bali, we still wanted to make a contribution, no matter how small.
Half way through our holiday, we asked our hotel concierge at the Bali Hyatt in Sanur to suggest a place for us.
He came up with a couple. When we asked how he went about finding and choosing them, he shrugged and replied, “I just Googled them”
And while that seems like a blasé answer, I think it perfectly sums up the prevalent issue of child poverty and homelessness in Bali.
There are over 70 orphanages on the Island of the Gods, housing several thousand children. And as I mentioned in my previous post, only a small percentage of them are actual orphans. The majority are children of unmarried mothers or have mothers who have remarried with partners who can’t afford to or don’t want to support them. Some have migrated from other parts of Indonesia with their family who can no longer look after them.
In the end, we decided to visit Dharma Jati II located east of Denpasar. Hindu-based, it has been privately run for over 20 years by a man named Wayan Nika.
The concierge gave him a quick call to let him know we were on our way and a taxi was also immediately organised for us.
Our taxi driver was a champion of customer service and spoke next to perfect English (When I asked him where he got to be so fluent he said, “From hanging around tourists at the beach…” As you do…).
It took us a little over half an hour to reach our destination. Our poor driver was a little nervous as he wasn’t actually sure of the exact location and we had to ask a few locals along the way.
If getting through the diabolical traffic in Indonesia wasn’t a challenge enough. Figuring out the scattered building numbers was like doing a sudoku puzzle.
We finally found the place and after some formal introductions, we sat in the courtyard with the owner, Mr Nika and briefly chatted about the daily routine of the orphanage.
We began chatting in a mix of Bahasa Indonesia and English. But luckily, our driver had followed us in and discreetly took over on translation duties. This made the conversation run a lot more smoothly and intimately because he was speaking to Mr Nika in the local Balinese dialect.
There are many orphanages in Bali that welcome foreign tourists to drop by and make a donation of clothes, educational supplies or money.
In hindsight, the way we approached Dharma Jati was perhaps a little risky. We hadn’t done any of our own research and unfortunately there are many stories of places being a scam.
Although, I do feel that my strong connection with Indonesia and its people will always steer me to what’s sincere and honest.
We can all remain sceptical about where our money goes and how it’s actually used. But why stay dormant on a dire situation that needs our immediate attention and support ?
Linking up for IBOT with the fantabulous Essentially Jess.