Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Volunteering in Bali

When you think of volunteering abroad, what's the first thing that comes into your mind? Teaching, working or helping out the community? Well for me, I think of volunteering as offering up my service to help anyone in need.

Helping out with the painting of the chairs

I've had experiences in helping out at a elderly Centre, doing beach clean-ups and working at a special needs home. However, all of these volunteer work was sourced out for me through a known organisation. It wasn't as exciting as I would already know what to expect. Everything was already planned out for me. Thus, this was why I decided to source out a private organisation to experience teaching in the local villages of Bali.

The local kids which stayed around our volunteer accommodation

My friend Hong Tao and I, did a 3 week volunteer programme with Volunteerinbali.org and Yayasan Widyasari is the name of their learning centre. However during our time of arrival, there were already enough volunteers helping out thus we were asked to help at their second Centre, Yayasan Lascarya Parama Seva. 

Volunteers helping out at Yayasan Lascarya Parama Seva 
Clearing up plastic waste on Garbage day

During my 3 weeks of teaching, I taught two groups of students; preschool class (ages 4-5) and Group A class (ages 6-10). Because the Centre is fairly new, it didn't have as many classrooms as compared to the first centre and thus I held all my lessons outdoors. My classroom set up consisted of two wooden tables and several plastic chairs. I had a whiteboard to illustrate my teachings, the kids had exercise books to practice their writing and we had a tree to offer shade from the sun. 

Some of the students from my A class
My Preschool kids

While I was there, I really experienced teaching in its raw form. With just the basic materials on hand, it ultimately leads to the teaching relationship between the teacher and the student. To be able to introduce, connect and familiarise the English language to the children was the main objective of my lessons.

Getting the kids ready for an activity
Melodie, another volunteer who I co-taught my classes with 

On my second week, more and more new students started coming in. I was pretty shocked with the numbers but after hearing the reason I was touched. It turned out that many of my existing students each brought one or two friends to class as they felt that they enjoyed it and would like their friends to experience it as well. It dawned upon me that simple gestures and actions like this could spark a chain reaction to allow more and more local children to learn and better understand the English language.

Two extra tables had to be brought over to fit the entire class

I always knew that there are less privileged people out there. I've heard about it, seen it on the papers and watched it on the news however I guess it's really different when you experience and see it for yourself. The kids I taught found joy in the simplest of things. From giving them a brand new pen, throwing rocks to even having a chance at the swing; these simple gestures are enough to bring them happiness and laughter. Simplicity really is bliss. 

Skipping rocks by the sea while counting "1,2,3" 
Enjoying her time on the swing

On my final week, a student of mine invited me to her house for a meal. She stayed in a really small house, perhaps only slightly larger than the size of a typical household toilet in Singapore. Upon walking in, all I saw was a mattress; it was where her parents slept and right beside it lay a cloth; it was where she would sleep. We chatted awhile before their dinner arrived. Their dinner was delivered to them by a motorbike and it was only later when I realised that they received it via donation. I had the most memorable meal that day. The fact that they were willing to share their meal with me, despite the fact that they already had so little to begin with touched my heart. 

After my 3 week experience, I've come to realise that it's not just about the volunteering but rather it's more about the community that you can help create. I mean helping people out is a good thing, but creating something that will continue to impact lives even after leaving is so much better. 

Interested to know more about the organisation I volunteered with? Click Here to find out more!


1 comment

  1. When I saw your picture I recognised a lot of the kids who are currently in my class at Yayasan.. both your blog and your pictures are amazing and while reading I felt like you were talking about my Sensations in this moment.. teaching here is one of the Most amazing experience and you can really feel you're doing something good for the world, and it leaves something in your heart.

    And, omg, your photos are literally amazing


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