Our Student Sponsor Program
Putu Pratiwi was eleven years old when it came to our attention that, despite her fine mind and dedication to her studies, she was going to have to drop out of school after the 6th grade. In Indonesia, education is free through grade six, but parents still must find the means to pay for uniforms (3 sets), school supplies (books, pens, paper, etc.) back packs or book bags, and athletic shoes. They might also have to pay for transport. The average amount per student is about $120. US per year. When kids reach middle school age, there is an additional fee of about $35.00 US. In a country where the average yearly income is a little over $1000. per year, this puts low-income students in danger of being forced to drop out.
Putu’s father is often unemployed, but works seasonally picking cloves. Her mother makes cakes that she sells in the market. Putu has one younger brother and sister. We found a sponsor from amongst our clients who were interested in sponsoring a dedicated students who otherwise would have to drop out– in this case, Joni Perry.
Putu is 17 now, and will graduate from HIgh school in June 2012. She ranks 9th in her class of 40 students. She excels in mathematics, and is passionate about dance, specializing in the difficult Legong. She was chosen to tour to Melbourne Australia and later, Hong Kong as part of a performance group from her village.
Putu would love to continue her studies at the University in the Department of Dance and Music, and we found another sponsor from among our trip members who has agreed to cover her expenses.
Although sponsors may opt out at any point, usually the sponsorship concludes at graduation from High School, although some have extended through tourism school (1-3 years) and some have even continued through University.
All the funds go directly to the student, and there are no administrative costs. Once a year we contact sponsors to see if they wish to continue. We meet with the students in Bali and receive an update on their studies. They write a letter of thanks to their sponsor, which we translate and mail, along with an updated photo we have taken of the student. So far over 500 students and sponsors have participated since we began this program in 1989. There are currently 16 students in the program.
Seneng Hati Educational and Social Organization(www.senanghati.org)
The Senang Hati Foundation, also known as Yayasan Senang Hati, is a non-profit organization in Bali that assists people living with disabilities. The name Senang Hati loosely translates as “Happy Hearts” in Indonesian. The foundation creates programs to develop self confidence, physical and economic independence, and increase awareness in the general community of the rights of people with disabilities. Senang Hati accomplishes this through the assistance of volunteers, who provide skills training and social interaction. The society also provides wheelchairs and housing, and runs Senang Hati Places, a home for disabled children.
After contracting polio at a young age, Putu Suriati, the founder of the Senang Hati Foundation, lost the use of her legs. While house-bound, Suriati was taught to paint by her uncle, and she was able to make a living selling her works to tourists–until the mid-1980s, when competition made painting unprofitable for Suriati. Things changed in 1989, when she was referred to our sponsor program by a district official. We found a sponsor who gave her a wheelchair, and we took her on tours of the island, and brought clients to her home who purchased her artwork at good prices. The wheelchair gave her increased mobility, allowing her to leave her parents’ house, and giving her the opportunity to join with other female painters in Bali to form the Seniwati Gallery (Gallery of Women Artists).
In 2000 Suriati held an exhibition of her work at the Bali Beach Hotel. At this exhibition Suriati met a number of other people with disabilities, and this led to the development of an informal network with others suffering from disabilities, which encompassed visits, activities, and excursions. With the help of the Bali Hati Foundation, the Senang Hati Foundation was established through a notary as a non-profit organization. In 2003, the foundation moved into a vacant school through a five-year lease donated by American businessman Glen Adams. There are currently over 100 members, about 35 of whom live in the facility as a collective.
We raise money for the group, find volunteers to work with them teaching and assisting, and bring clients to visit their boutique and tour their facility.