At the very beginning of the project we asked the villagers what they felt was their number one priority. They chose education for their children. At the time, the nearest government schools were 4-6km away and, in some hamlets, illiteracy rates reached 70-100%.
Integrated education programmes for illiterate children
With hundreds of illiterate children, support and approval from the local government education department, we designed a literacy programme that would serve as a foundation for future development, especially in health, hygiene and self-reliance. The first programme began in Dusun Bunga in August 1999, sponsored by a Japanese foundation, Bali Shogaku Kikin. Two more programmes began in Dusun Cegi and Dusun Pengalusan in 2000, sponsored by Bali Dynasty Resort. In January 2001 a programme began in Dusun Manikaji that was sponsored by the Hard Rock Hotel Bali until December 2001. Now more than two hundred previously illiterate and malnourished children aged 6-15 attend EBPP schools in their isolated hamlets: the pride of their respective communities.
EBPP provide the teachers: local people with the motivation to learn and lead their community forward through their own children. The curriculum is tailored to their needs. As well as reading and writing skills, children learn about nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, good health practice, organic farming, environmental education, social sciences, arts and crafts. Pak Made Budiana, a well-known Balinese artist, also visits Desa Ban regularly with a group of volunteers to help the children develop their artistic skills.
By 2003, children in three of our four programmes are now in schools with classrooms, a library, teachers room and kitchen. Each one is funded by a different donor and built by the community with our technical and logistics support. We call these schools community learning and development centres as they are owned by the community and will double as vocational training centres. Creative arts for teenagers started last year; recently we launched nutrition and organic farming theory for the kids parents who have joined the organic farming cooperatives.
Secondary School Scholarships
Beginning in 1999, EBPP has given scholarships to 12 children to allow them to attend junior high school in Singaraja. The children stay at Dana Punia orphanage in Singaraja during term time. Unfortunately, four of the children have had to drop out of the programme for family reasons but this year the others graduated from junior high school and have continued on to study at senior high schools in Singaraja. Their education costs are funded by the caring American-owned Danu Enterprises: many of their Bali-culture-tourists donate annually after seeing EBPP fundraising video.
By 2003, we are proud to report that these children are not only excelling in their respective classes, but also have visions for their future: they want to go back to their village to share their new knowledge and participate in developing a new generation of children who can initiate and encourage sustainable development for self-reliance. On their school holidays, they join EBPP field team and get involved in teaching children, learning computer skills, working with our health/nutrition staff and developing their creative art skills. They really are an amazing bunch of young adults that we are all very proud of.