The Projects

Leaf Education: Help a child (and adults, too)

The local school, established in 2004, has five classrooms and is attended by 80 children. The school employs one certified head teacher, an assistant, a secretary, an administration officer and three casual teachers.

The tables and chairs are old and damaged. The floor is not tiled. There is no library. There are no toilets for the children. The walls are filthy. There are no bins; all waste is dumped behind the school.

The children are there simply to guarantee the teacher's pension.

Children get two or three hours of education each day, during which they have to do their morning prayers and clean the school as well.

The vast majority of Indonesian students leave secondary school poorly prepared for university and lacking basic skills. According to The Jakarta Globe, last year 89% of students passed the government administered exams. As this process is hugely corrupt and pass rates are greatly affected by region (as most educational resources go to Jakarta and greater Java), this system is not adequate for measuring students’ abilities, or judging the success of Indonesia’s educational system.

The cost of education is a hardship for the village families, who earn on average around USD30 per month. To attend primary school a child must pay around USD100 per year; for junior high school the price jumps to USD300.

Together with the mayor we asked the Indonesian Education Department for improvements to the school. We received 60 million rupiah, or around USD 6,000 to repair the roof and tile the floors.

We wish to raise money for the following:

After-school English and computer classes

We aim to hire (and train if necessary) English and computer teachers for classes two or three times a week. After-school education for both children and adults is high on many villagers' wish lists. Computer and English literacy would enable the villagers to access information that would help them with their lives daily.

Hiring a kindergarten teacher

We aim to hire a kindergarten teacher. We strongly believe in the importance of early childhood engaged and fun education.

Scholarships

Some extremely smart children in the village would love to go to university or study abroad but their parents simply can’t afford it. We would like to be able to cover their costs.

Setting up a library

The children love the books they receive from our guests and they are hungry for more. We can start to set up a library at The Farm and, step-by-step, create an extra job and real library, where computers could be kept as well.

Leaf Income: Help a farmer
Farmer
Rice Field

Local media has reported that the Bali administration plans to allocate USD1.1 million to help local farmers adopt organic farming methods by 2013.

But how will our village ever know about how this is being implemented if they don't have an internet connection, they can’t afford to buy a newspaper and they don’t have a network and contacts in the local government?

The farmers are entirely at the mercy of middlemen when it comes to selling their products. How can they get better prices?

As the farmers have no marketing skills and no knowledge of economics it means they all plant the same products at the same time, when Bali's climate allows them to in fact be more imaginative and diversify.

We wish to raise money for the following:

Setting up a village cooperative

The Organic Farm and chefs from restaurants and hotels on the island are already helping the farmers with logistics, marketing, finance and management. But they need to register themselves as a cooperative and set up a bank account; they need to buy organic seeds; they need equipment including a computer and a refrigerated van for transport. We daily receive requests for organic chicken, eggs, meat, rice, veggies and dried products, but we can’t organize to sell them yet.

I am sexy, organic and I grow it!

Let's make the farmers proud of their important job! Why do vacuous celebrities get all the attention? Why not farmers, who work hard every day producing the food that fuels us? You can help by asking the management of your hotel in Bali to buy organic locally. If many guests ask, maybe we can make a difference.

Leaf Entrenched sexism: Help a girl
Young Ladies

© 2013 Scott Parris

Many Balinese village girls marry when they are around 15 years old and pregnant. They move in with their husband’s family. Women work hard, taking care of the animals, tending the land, holding ceremonies, and caring for the children and family.

Balinese village men – in general – sit down, hug their roosters and go to cockfights, where it's not unheard of for them to gamble away everything they have. This means they can be forced to sell their land. And because of a lack of any financial education, any gambling profit is likely ploughed straight back into the next cockfight, a new car, a new motorbike or a new TV, until the money is finished again.

If this goes on, the children of this village will not have any inheritance left because all the land will have been sold to outsiders, either Westerners, Indonesians or Balinese from the south who have already sold off their own land to make quick cash.

The younger generation of girls in the village are tempted to move to the south of Bali, where tourism is concentrated, to (hopefully) find a low-paid job.

If these uneducated but smart girls move out of the village, who is going to take care of the older generation, hold the ceremonies, and grow our vegetables, fruit and rice?

Equal rights are still a long way from reaching Bali. If a woman wants a divorce she must move back to her family compound and waives rights to her children; on the other hand, a Balinese man can have more than one wife. A woman who leaves her husband is left with nobody to care for her when she's old and will have no land to grow food on.

We wish to raise money for the following:

Setting up a system of microcredit

A man will allow his wife to work at home, if it is not disturbing the family/animal/land schedule. To earn her own income, women would like to have access to things such as sewing machines and equipment required to produce dried banana, potato chips or other products needed by the chefs. A system of microcredit would let the women take responsibility for their own finances and kickstart some good income generation.

Business training and skills training

Even though they may not be permitted to work outside the home, the women are eager to work at home, but they don't always have the necessary skills. In addition to providing them with equipment, we would like to allow them to attend training courses in relevant skills.

Build cottages on family compounds

We only have three cottages at The Organic Farm Bali, and demand exceeds supply during high season. All women working on The Farm's team are unmarried or divorced. Why do guests stay with us? For the delicious organic food, to get back to nature, for the comfortable beds; but mainly because they want to be part of and learn about the local culture and daily life on a Balinese farm. Jump in the hot springs with the local kids. Feel how heavy the basket with flowers or grass is that the women carry on their heads? How much effort is needed to cook by fire each day?

Instead of hosting visitors ourselves, we wish to build cottages in family compounds. That way, married women can still look after guests because technically they are working at home. Family members and children will be able to pick up foreign languages, helping them perhaps to become future drivers and guides without leaving their own village.

The flipside is that guests get to see an authentic slice of Balinese life.

The profit of the rentals, after the families are paid, will flow back into the Foundation to support the village.

We at The Organic Farm Bali will return to being only a restaurant serving up fresh organic food, where the guests can eat, will do the marketing for the cottages and train the women in hygiene standards and hospitality skills.

The Mayor has already said he wants a copy of our cottages built behind his house – where there are breathtaking views over rice fields and hot springs – to set an example for the rest of the village women.

After this first cottage is finished and proven success, we are sure other villagers – and women – will be keen to have their own.

Leaf Waste: Help create a clean village
Trash

“Bali Clean and Green”, the government slogan says. But this is unfortunately far from the truth in Munduk Lumbang. Every week we try to clean up the village with the kids and our guests. We take the collected rubbish to dumpsters in Tabanan, but the locals there complain that we should not be doing this.

We've tried to explain in Tabanan that we are seeking a better solution by talking to the village head and local government. But until another solution is found, our only alternative to taking our rubbish to Tabanan is to dump it into the rivers in our village, which will end up in Tabanan too, or burn it, which creates a whole set of new health risks.

Nobody is interested in dealing with waste unless they can earn an income from it. We don’t have any organic waste in our village because everybody uses it to make compost for their own gardens or to sell. Plastic bottles and cans are all recycled in households or sold. We are talking about the waste nobody wants to buy or use.

We wish to raise money for the following:

We need at least 50 rubbish bins, which will be permanently secured on the road and in the temples. Then we need to hire two workers to collect the waste twice a week by truck – and yes, we need to rent or buy a truck and hire a driver as well. If we can buy a truck we can even collect waste from the surrounding villages. The waste will be dumped in Gianyar, the only official dump site in Bali (as far as we know), which is too far for us to otherwise reach regularly.

Leaf Sanitation challenge: Help provide water

We are rich in (hot) springs in our area, but they are all located on a lower level than our village.

Recently we received a big donation from one of our guests to pipe running water to a part of the village, so now many houses have a single tap in their homes. This water is just enough for washing dishes and filtering for drinking water.

Showers and toilets are still mainly taken in the river, which can cause a lot of health problems such as dysentery.

We wish to raise money for the following:

More pumps and pipes, and a good engineer to design a sustainable water plan for us; the villagers offer their labour for free.

Leaf Healthcare: Help the villagers stay healthy
Dentist

A government mobile clinic visits the village once every three months. This clinic supplies vitamins, antibiotics and paracetamol, and sometimes vaccinations. The government promises that each child will be immunized against polio but is often out of stock and the child has to wait another three months for another visit. The villagers have to pay for the supplied drugs, though the medication is supposed to be free.

Breast cancer and HIV don't exist in our village because there is no education or information about it anywhere; our own governor flew to Singapore when he had a stroke.

The nearest hospital is in Tabanan, 45 minutes by motorbike along bumpy roads, and there's no ambulance available. All villagers need to hand over a “poor paper” - which the family have to get at that same time from the Government - to proof that they are poor and can’t pay their hospital bills before they even get checked by a doctor.

We wish to raise money for the following:

A basic local clinic, with a good doctor, dentist and free medication. We would love to work together with volunteers from abroad, to exchange programs about local Balinese medicine as well, but the Indonesian government does not allow it. This subject has to wait.

Leaf Rabies and bird flu: Help animals stay healthy
Puppies

In 2011, the government eliminated all dogs in the village as a result of an outbreak of rabies on the island. Since then, many newborn dogs have found their way here.

A dog (or any other animal) in Bali is not treated like our pets in the West. A dog is the “security” of the house and in return gets some left overs to eat. It’s usually a male; the females are drowned in the river to avoid more dogs being born. If you are struggling for your own food, how can you take care of a dog and its puppies?

A lack of information is dangerous.

Our village has a lot of chickens. Bird flu has been found in Bali before but the villagers' knowledge about this is non-existent.

We wish to raise money for the following:

A vet to come and check all the animals regularly and provide medication and education to the villagers about the care of their animals.

Leaf Transport: Help build a better main village road
Angel Road

© 2013 Scott Parris

To our request for a better main road in the village, a local government official replied: “The village already received a very good road to the temple.”

And this is true. They got a road to the temple, which is up in the mountain. But not into the village. This causes many accidents and the road turns into a river during rainy season.

We aim to build a two-lane concrete road, with grass in between the lanes. We've asked whether we can build it ourselves but we've been told we cannot, as it's on government land. So we've asked the government to take care of it, but received no response. So this is on the backburner for now.

Leaf Facilities: Help create a healthy, sporty, green village
Marble Spoon Race

Marble Spoon Race

The village football field, next to a ravine and rubbish tip, has broken netting (which was originally sponsored by our guests). Ceremonies and cockfights are the only form of entertainment for the youth in this village.

We wish to raise money for the following:

Our aim is to provide sports facilities, including to play soccer, volleyball, table tennis, badminton and aerobics. We also wish to hire a local teacher for gamelan and Balinese dance lessons.

Given more tourists visiting, spa classes would be useful vocational training.