Despite the relatively good economic situation in Bali, the island is still facing many social problems and equality is only a dream for many locals who belong to the different socio-economical classes. When I arrived to Bali, I was happy to notice that you can’t see many beggars wandering around at the intersections. NGO’s and charity foundations have an important role here in helping those in need.
Asia Exchange also co-operates with local NGO-organizations to improve the situation in local communities in a sustainable way. One of those organizations is the children’s home called Seeds of Hope, a home for 65 children for ages ranging 3 to 21. Seeds of hope is more than an orphanage, and actually only a few of the children living there are actual orphans. Children come from various backgrounds but they all have one thing in common: their original family or supporter could not take care of them anymore.
Seed of Hope was established in 2000 and it is based on Christian values. The founder and the mother of the home, Sandra, started the home when she felt that this is her vocation and a mission in life she needs to follow. Education had always been very important value for Sandra, and this is why everyone living in Seeds of Hope have will eventually have the opportunity to go study in a university. In the past 15 years, the home’s first children have grown up and become young adults who are now studying or graduating from university. Sandra proudly explains how many of her children have already achieved a good situation in life as lawyers, priests or doctors.
One must really admire the work Seeds of Hope is doing. The beginning for the organization was hard, as only one year after the home was established Sandra was over-stressed to the point of a stroke that almost took her life. She was lucky though, and the stroke only affected to her ability to move. Despite now being restrained to a wheelchair and speaking a bit slowly, she stills teaches and loves the kids around her. In addition to Sandra, her adult children along with their spouses also work for Seeds of Hope. Usually they also have other helping hands coming from around the world. Every year they have students doing their internship for a couple of months. These are good opportunities for the children to learn English, which is an important skill here in Bali where almost ¼ of the inhabitants are foreigners.
On 21st of November Asia Exchange had the opportunity to visit Seeds of Hope and get to know the place and the children living there. The operation is based on donations that Seeds of Hope receive from many different countries around the world. Nonetheless, smaller donations are also important for the home to function well. We were asked to bring food as a donation. And what a huge amount we managed to collect! Rice, oil, noodles, juices, spices… All kind of food that really came in handy!
The children had prepared some songs for us, and after the music performance we had time to get to know the house and play some football and volleyball in the backyard. Some of the older boys proudly introduced us their new building that was built last year for the youths studying at the university. Thanks to this new building, they had more space and privacy to concentrate on studying! Smaller children had nice rooms as well that they usually shared with some other kid.
We ended the visit for a lunch together that the older children had prepared for us. We heard that usually they also had a person to work in the kitchen but at the moment she was on a holiday. It was surprising how well so many children worked together and helped the smaller ones. We really got a feeling that this place is first and foremost a loving home with a warm and caring atmosphere. Sandra told me that in the beginning they used to have personnel who used corporal punishments but this kind of behaviour was something Sandra didn’t believe in and she fired them after three weeks after they started working.
I think the secret behind the fine working home and well-bred children is the huge amount of love this place gives to children and the seeds of hope this place sows for a better world.