Ever since the pandemic hit, the people of Bali have been struggling with daily life. With borders effectively closed and no tourism on the island, impacts have been wide reaching.
Bali Children’s Project is continuing our COVID Food Relief Appeal to help those families with food staples. The longer the pandemic goes on, the more difficult families are finding it to survive.
Meanwhile, Bali Children’s Project continues to help students access education through sponsorships, infrastructure projects and health awareness.
Bali’s Economic Slowdown
For families living in poverty anyway, life has become even harder. From food production to building supplies, the network of low income workers has been hit as hard as tourism workers.
With lower income, there is lower spending. For example, a family living in poverty could previously get by through sales of religious offerings. However, as there is less work, more families have been cutting back and making their own offerings.
Meanwhile, many people who had jobs have seen their hours cut or their pay reduced.
The story is the same in many areas – from farm workers to building laborers. There just isn’t as much demand for work.
For families that were already on the brink, the weight of the world is on their shoulders. They have families to feed but little to no income.
Bali recently became open to domestic tourism under ‘new normal’ protocols, but it is unlikely international tourism will return until 2021. Even then, it will take a while for tourism to properly return as tourists remain cautious. It means a long wait for a return to better times.
It has sparked some calls for Bali to diversify its economy so there is not as much reliance on tourism.
As many visitors will have noticed, tourism has brought prosperity to Bali. Areas that were previously high in poverty became wealthier, with new jobs, better infrastructure and higher standards of education. Generally, it resulted in an improved quality of life.
For other areas, poverty remained widespread, but links to tourism remained. Farm workers would be employed to help cope with demand for food products sold to hotels and restaurants. Brick making families would have more work as building projects purchased materials.
There has been positive news too. Schools have cautiously reopened, albeit with limited numbers/classes operational.
A shift to online learning has also heralded a change for children – and brought with it a new issue of how low income families can access smartphones and the internet so they can learn online.
Most schools still are handing paper based work to students too, so study at home can continue without always needing a smartphone.
A new school year has seen children move up a year in school. Exciting for some, but an added pressure for others whose families face new school fees and uncertainty over affording long term costs.
Bali Children’s Project Response
We have been honored to be able to continue supporting education in Bali throughout the pandemic. Starting with our COVID Food Relief Appeal, we have so far been able to deliver over 700 packages of non-perishable staples for families in need. It has been an incredible response from supporters and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Sponsorships have helped students and families to not have to worry about education costs too. Despite an initial drop in sponsorships, donors have helped us to sponsor more children than ever for school.
Our development of infrastructure has also continued. Since the pandemic, we have renovated three kindergartens and two libraries. We are literally building for the future. While schools remain limited, we know there is an urgent need to improve early stage learning and access to libraries.
Meanwhile, Child Protection workshops have continued, with limited numbers and a new normal safety protocol. Our team is currently developing an animated cartoon about abuse awareness too, which will be accessible on the internet, ready for home learning.
In our landmark Sex Education Program, the “It’s My Life” mobile web application (developed in 2019) has become the perfect online learning tool. Our ever-present team has continued to work with student health groups too, helping them develop their own distance learning tools, such as online video workshops.
Amongst the issues caused by the pandemic, we have been humbled by the response of everybody. We have see the resilience of the Balinese people, students committed to learning and the kindness of hundreds of international donors.
We are so grateful for all those who have supporter our work during the pandemic, whether it has been through Food Relief Donations, or sponsorships for school. We are especially proud of our team who have risen to the challenge of adapting programs to support children and their families in Bali.
Perhaps the most telling is how the international community has gotten together to help Bali during its hour of need. A paradise for many during the good times, and deeply impacted by the pandemic, Bali will continue and looks forward to the day it can welcome the international community again.
Donors are welcome to support any area of our work during the pandemic.
Donate to the Julah Community Donor Project
Most kindergartens in Bali lack supplies and support. We are helping to improve the quality of education by providing these.
Bali Children’s Project is proud to help schools and libraries improve, as well as showing donors exactly how their funds are spent. Please help us to transform more schools in Bali.