In January, Danni Grundy, WA Trainer of the Year 2015 visited Bali on a mission to support the Yaysan/Panti Asuhan orphanage. As a trainer in Early Childhood Education and Care, supporting children in underdeveloped countries is something close to Danni’s heart. Below, she recounts the journey.
It was a week before Christmas and I was planning a New Year’s trip to Bali whilst having coffee with my Mum. She was telling me about an orphanage in Bali she had recently visited called Yaysan/Panti Asuhan (Orphanage foundation). I had tears in my eyes as she shared the impact her donation had on the children’s lives there. I have always been an advocate for children and couldn’t think of a better way to give back to the beautiful Balinese people and so I decided to visit the orphanage on my trip.
I was determined to go with as many donations as possible so I took it to social media. I was overwhelmed with the response I received from family, friends, community members of Toodyay, and my students. Believing that being so close to Christmas people would have tight budgets, I underestimated the generosity of the Christmas spirit. I collected just over $800 and a collection of various sporting equipment. One of my former students who now runs a local Family Day Care also gave me nine beautiful teddies for the children.
On the 4th January, my friend Mel and I, set off on a 2.5 hour drive from Kuta through the beautiful Bali landscape. We arrived at Yaysan/Panti Asuhan while the children were at school so we had some valuable time with Kadek, the orphanage director. We learned so much from our conversations with her, such as being so far from the capital city her orphanage only receives a third of the government support that others do. It also means that very few tourists make the trip and donations are their lifeline.
Kadek and her husband have been managing the orphanage for 17 years now. Thirty children live there aged between 7 to 15 years. Kadek’s baby girl was fascinated by us. Kadek explained to me that she is struggling to breast feed her due to being so tired all the time but baby formula in Bali is very expensive. We invited Kadek to join us on a shopping trip to the big local supermarket. She was so grateful she held my hand as we shopped. We bought various supplies such as chicken, eggs, fruit, vegetables, rice, incense and spices. We also purchased each child a drink and packet of chips – a rare treat for them. Kadek hugged me when I found 2 tins of baby formula and placed them in our trolley (she was right, they’re the same price as Perth at $25 per tin!).
We filled the drivers van for under $300 and then headed back to the orphanage. Kadek expressed that thanks to our expedition she could have a week of sleeping in. I asked her what she meant by this and she explained that she only has a motorbike for transport so must go to the market early every morning for supplies for breakfast. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for 30 people every day!
The children started arriving back in their immaculately clean school uniforms. It was obvious they had great pride in their schooling. Each child approached us and one-by-one, shook our hand, then touched their heart or forehead. Our driver told us that this is a sign of respect and gratitude. Although shy at first, they spoke English very well. One boy, Wayan, told me that when he first arrived at the orphanage at 7 years old, he could not read or write but the week before our visit he had come 3rd in the school’s mathematics competition. Wayan is now 13 years old and loves school.
The children’s lives revolve around study, chores and prayer, with very little free time. Kadek helps the children with their homework every night. Study is very important to them as they understand that this can make the most positive impact in their futures. Unfortunately, high school is very expensive in Bali and they rely on donations to fund this. We gave Kadek the remaining $500 for the 2 oldest boys’ high school fees. My dream is to ensure that all of the children will be given this opportunity.
We went with the intent on giving back to Bali, but we left with so much more. It has changed my entire outlook on life. I am looking forward to taking my 9 year old daughter in October 2016. We have started collecting children’s books to take but weight on the plane is limited, therefore we hope for donations of money so we can take Kadek shopping again and foster more of the children’s high school fees.
If you would like to support Danni’s cause, you can get in contact with her at Danni.Grundy@cyoc.wa.edu.au.
This is just one example of how our WA Trainer of the Year winners go that extra mile. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next WA Trainer of the Year apply today and put your career in the spotlight.