BaliLife Foundation Case Study

BaliLife is a non-profit organization that serves the underprivileged youth and mothers of Bali by providing housing, education, and community building opportunities.

I was asked to rewrite the content on some of their website pages which had become dated.

BaliLife wanted to achieve the following goals with the new copy:

  Create opportunities for internal linking to keep people on the site

  Replace citations with external links with updated statistics

  Make the text clearer and more organized

Here’s just one of the pages I rewrote for them:

Before

WHY WE EXIST

Indonesia has a population of 248,645,008 (July 2012 est.) making it the 4th largest nation in the world (1) and it faces a number of challenges…

“Current issues include: alleviating poverty, improving education, preventing terrorism, consolidating democracy after four decades of authoritarianism, implementing economic and financial reforms, stemming corruption, reforming the criminal justice system, holding the military and police accountable for human rights violations, addressing climate change, and controlling infectious diseases, particularly those of global and regional importance.” (2)

Apart from children being genuinely orphaned, the 3 main factors that lead to children living in orphanages in Bali are summarised below:

1) POVERTY
Many children living at our orphanage, and also at others are not actually orphans at all but victims of poverty.

Parents here will often have lots of children but cannot always afford to provide for them. The average income in Indonesia is around $100 a month (3) and with rapidly increasing costs of living it is hard to survive on such a little amount. Just considering education alone:

“UNICEF estimates that more than one million children drop out of primary school every year, primarily because the cost of supplies, uniforms, and other expenses are a burden for disadvantaged families.” (4)

There is also a clear link between children being out of school as a result of a need to work – two-thirds of children who are out of school are involved in work, either paid employment or at home.

An estimated 2.7 million Indonesian children are involved in some form of child labour – roughly half of these are under the age of 13. While most working children do manage to participate in some form of schooling, time spent engaged in education is limited and impacts on their ability to reach their full potential. There is also a clear link between children being out of school as a result of a need to work – two-thirds of children who are out of school are involved in work, either paid employment or at home.

Some parents may recognise this and choose to send their children to an orphanage where they know they will at least receive food, shelter and education. This is especially the case for single parents – particularly widowed or divorced women who have no way of financially supporting themselves or their children after the death/divorcing of their husband.

2) HOMELESSNESS
In the busy tourist areas of South Bali a large scene of ‘street kids’ has developed where children are sent out by their families to beg. As there are no penalties for failing to enrol your child in school this is a viable resort for the poorest of parents. (5) The children eventually drift into a life that is less and less attached to their family and more to the people they meet on the streets.

Life on the street is full of danger and vulnerability. One of our children was found on the streets so ill he was close to death – this is a tropical country where risk of contracting a major infectious disease is high (6) and where healthcare is privatised.

If begging is unsuccessful it often leads to petty crime and, heart-breakingly, into life as sex workers where work/money is more dependable. Many of our children, who were living on the streets before they came to us, spoke openly of their desire to become prostitutes as soon as they were able. Being children, they do not fully understand the implications of what prostitution would mean; they just see it as a secure way to gain an income (a relatively good one compared to begging). Obviously, this is an appalling prospect for these children and on top of that it is worth noting that in Indonesia there are 310,000 (2009 est.) people living with HIV/AIDs – making it the 19th worst affected country in the world. (7)

Orphanages offer a refuge for children who have experienced life on the street and a chance to make a better future for those who want to change.

3) ABUSE
Before they came to live with us, many of our children were victims of neglect and all other types of abuse. Indonesia adopted the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990 however implementing it has been problematic…

“Numerous difficulties impede Indonesia’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the practical difficulties of coordinating policy in over 6,000 islands and the lack of resources in an economy still recovering from the Asian economic collapse in 1997. Furthermore, Indonesia reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child that traditional attitudes persist in which child abuse is seen as a family matter for which intervention is unnecessary. The U.S. State Department reported that child labor and sexual exploitation were severe problems and that “some provincial governments did not enforce [the] provisions” of the Law on Child Protection.” (8)

So although child abuse is illegal in Indonesia – doing anything about it other than removing the child completely from the reaches of the abuser by placing them into the care of an orphanage, is extremely difficult.

REFERENCES
CIA Publication ‘The World Factbook’ ISSN 1553-813
CIA Publication ‘The World Factbook’ ISSN 1553-813
Microsoft’s Encarta (2004)
UNICEF Indonesia ‘The Children’ (Indonesia: UNICEF 2012)
UNICEF Indonesia annual report 2012 (Indonesia: UNICEF 2010 )
CIA Publication ‘The World Factbook’ ISSN 1553-813
CIA Publication ‘The World Factbook’ ISSN 1553-813
From “Representing Children Worldwide: How Children’s Voices Are Heard In Child Protective Proceedings” (2005)

After

WHY BALI NEEDS US

Home to over 257.56 million people, Indonesia is the world’s 4th most populous nation. It’s made up of a string of more than 17,000 islands featuring hundreds of diverse ethnic groups. The Indonesian island of Bali has drawn tourists from around the world with its idyllic beaches, terraced rice paddies, and unique spirituality.

You may be familiar with Bali’s luxury resorts, spas, and healing centers. Tourists can purchase beautiful handmade crafts and fabrics steeped in ancient tradition. There’s no question Bali is an incredible holiday destination. In fact, the island was host to over 4.48 million tourists in 2016 – that’s more tourists than there are native islanders living in Bali!

It can be hard to imagine why a place like this needs our help.

But behind the curtain, many of our nation’s people struggle to overcome widespread poverty, a lack of quality and accessible education, political corruption, the threats of climate change, and more.

There are parts of Bali that visitors don’t see.

 

ENDING THE CYCLE OF POVERTY

The children are our future, and many children in Bali don’t have access to the resources they need to thrive. Poverty has left many Balinese children stuck in cycles of hardship.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are an estimated 183,000 people living in poverty in Bali and hundreds of thousands more hovering just above the poverty line and extremely vulnerable to financial difficulty. This means 4.49% percent of the Balinese population lives on less than the international benchmark of US$2 a day.

Most of the poor live in rural villages away from urban and tourist centers. This is who our programmes serve.

 

WE HELP THE CHILDREN AND WOMEN OF BALI THRIVE

Children and women living in poverty are not given the opportunity for a better future because they must overcome a lack of necessities, homelessness, a lack of quality education and vocational skills, and sometimes even abuse to succeed in life.

An education for a better future

Because of poverty, many children don’t have access to education. In some cases, parents can’t afford to send their children to school. Even the cost of school supplies is too much.

In other cases, children must work instead of going to school to help provide for their family. Two-thirds of children who are out of school are involved in work, either through paid employment or working at home (UNICEF, 2012). An estimated 3.6 million Indonesian children ages 10-17 are involved in some form of child labour (US Department of Labor, 2015).

Children living in rural areas are disproportionately affected: 12.5% of rural children ages 10 to 17 work in comparison to 5.9% of children in urban areas (US Department of Labor, 2015)

While most working children do manage to participate in some form of schooling, time spent engaged in education is limited and impacts their ability to reach their full potential.

A lack of proper education limits their opportunities throughout their lives.

Learn more about our educational programmes in our Children’s Home, Community Programme, and Suwong Community Centre.

Homes for the homeless

We offer a place to live for children and women impacted by poverty.

Many children end up on the street when they’re sent out by their families to beg. As there are no penalties for failing to enroll your child in school, this is a viable resort for the poorest of parents. These “street kids” are common in the busy tourist areas of south Bali. The children eventually drift into a life that is less and less attached to their family and more to the people they meet on the streets. Life on the street is full of danger and vulnerability.

If begging is unsuccessful, it often leads to petty crime and, heartbreakingly, into life as sex workers where work and money are more reliable.

Many of our children who were living on the streets before they came to us spoke openly of their desire to become prostitutes as soon as they were able. Being children, they do not fully understand the implications of what prostitution would mean; they just see it as a secure way to gain an income – and a relatively good one compared to begging.

Obviously, this is an appalling prospect for these children. On top of all this, there are an estimated 690,000 people living with HIV in Indonesia, 17,000 of whom are children aged 0-14 (UNAIDS, 2015).

Orphanages offer a refuge and a chance for a better future for children who have experienced life on the street

Learn more about our Children’s Home and Street Centre

Out of abuse and into a community

Before they came to live with us, many of our children were victims of neglect or other types of abuse. Indonesia adopted the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, however implementing it has been problematic due to the practical difficulties of coordinating policy in over 17,000 islands, a lack of resources, and persisting traditional attitudes that child abuse is a private family matter that doesn’t need intervention.

Although child abuse is illegal in Indonesia, it evades legal penalties. The only option is to remove the child completely from the reaches of the abuser by placing him or her in orphanage care.

 

WHY ISN’T TOURISM ENOUGH?

Tourism is a major contributor to the Indonesian economy, representing US$80 billion and 9.3% of Indonesia’s total GDP in 2014, and growing. We’re grateful for the opportunity to share our culture with tourists, and for the stimulating effect their visits have on our economy.

Unfortunately, booming tourism also incentivizes the government to only invest in regions that bring in tax dollars from the tourism sector. In Bali, this means the east still needs infrastructure, healthcare, and education while the south has become well developed, or ‘gentrified’ (ABC News, 2015).

The poor remain poor. The money doesn’t trickle down as we might expect.

Land that was traditionally used for farming is now being bought for development for tourism activities, leaving farmers without a livelihood and driving up the cost of necessities as they grow scarcer.

The governor of Bali I Made Mangku Pastika referred to the tourism sector as a “disaster” for the poor. In his words, “As the tourism sector is being developed, the cost of people’s daily necessities is becoming more expensive and particularly unaffordable for the poor…Tourism also attracts many people from outside Bali to come here and work. These migrants drive up the price of food and other necessities” (The Bali Times, 2012). 

“This is fantastic! Honestly, I wouldn’t change a single word. You were incredibly helpful and resourceful.”

Jane Le Gall
Digital Marketing Strategist, BaliLife Foundation

* Photos sourced from BaliLife’s Instagram