SOS Children's Villages became active in Bali in 1989 when we began supporting vulnerable children in Tabanan. Bali has since become the biggest tourist destination in Indonesia. Thanks to these visitors, the island is one of the richest regions in the country. However, not everyone has benefited from the wealth, and many vulnerable families continue to seek our support.
The benefits of the booming tourism trade do not reach everyone
Two little girls from the village (photo: B. Neeleman)
SOS Children's Villages in Bali is located in Tabanan which lies about 30 kilometres from Denpasar, the Balinese capital.
Traditionally agriculture has been the main source of income and employment for the people of Bali. Although more recently tourism has taken over as the main source of income, agriculture continues to provide many with a livelihood. Many people who work on the land do not own it but lease it, and this means they often continue to live in poverty – recent estimates suggest that up to 60 per cent of farmers live below the poverty line. Given the booming tourist industry, many agricultural plots have been sold for touristic development and it has become practically impossible for farmers to buy land due to the rising prices. The situation of such farmers was so bad that the government introduced a sponsored transmigration programme which aimed to reduce the number of people living in overpopulated Bali and move them to other islands where they could farm more profitably.
An increasing number of children are losing parental care on the island. One of the reasons for this is the rising HIV/AIDS rate. The capital city of Denpasar has the highest number of cases of people with HIV/AIDS in the area. Most children who lose parental care end up in living in appalling conditions in orphanages around the island.
Providing families with the support they need
SOS Children's Villages started working in Indonesia in the early 1970s. The country has experienced many changes in the decades since, and our activities have increased in order to reach a growing number of vulnerable families and children. Our most recent family strengthening programmes adapt to the needs of the local population. For example in Tabanan, many children in the area are able to attend school thanks to our scholarships.
What we do in Bali
Girl walking through the village (photo: B. Neeleman)
In 2005, SOS Children's Villages Indonesia launched its first family strengthening programmes. These programmes, organised in collaboration with local agencies, are intended to support families at risk of abandoning their children and to encourage families to stay together. We offer health counselling, community support and psychological support. The activities are designed to ensure that children have access to essential services, such as education, health services and psycho-social support. Families are assisted with income generation and also receive help when dealing with the authorities. In addition, parenting skills and awareness of children's rights are improved. Furthermore, the SOS Kindergarten provides day-care – to parents who have to earn a living it is very important to have professional day-care for their children.
For children whose families can no longer take care of them SOS Children's Villages provides a loving home in one of the twelve SOS families. Smaller children attend the SOS Kindergarten, where they are looked after and taught together with children from local families. Later they attend schools in the area, which helps them become part of the local community. The village also has a playground, a sports field and a garden where children can spend time together. A large orchard provides the SOS Children's Village with fresh fruit, and two small fish-ponds supply fresh fish. At SOS Children's Village Bali, the children are brought up according to the cultural traditions of the island.
When the young adults are ready to leave their SOS family they move to the SOS Youth Programme in the nearby city of Denpasar when they start vocational training or go on to higher education. With the support of qualified professionals, the young people develop perspectives for their future, learn to shoulder responsibility and increasingly make their own decisions.