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The Bikabele Story
From the Beginning

In August 2003, four friends from Perth (Bill, Kay, Bev & Leanne), who were saddened by the October 2002 Bali bombings, had gathered up some pre-loved clothes and toys etc with the intention of visiting an orphanage whilst holidaying in Bali, as some way of contributing to the Balinese community. We contacted the airline we were flying with and they generously allowed us an extra 10kg baggage allowance each.

Having done some research on the orphanages in Bali, once there, we sat down and selected which orphanage we would visit. We Swiss Replica Watches selected the Panti Asuhan Semara Putra orphanage which was home to 38 very special children - all having impairments or disabilities of some form. We phoned the orphanage and asked if we could visit on Friday 8th August to which the Director, Mrs Made Gunasih welcomed us to come along. We telephoned a driver with a vehicle big enough to cart us and our bags and boxes to Klungkung for our visit.

The evening before our trip up into the countryside of Bali to visit the orphanage, we had dinner with a group of 10 Bali-loving Australians we had befriended from our hotel. During the evening, upon hearing of our planned visit for the following day, our new friends all put 'into the hat', some cash for us to buy some further gifts for the Orphanage. We also had some cash donated from family back at home, to buy some school stationery for the children.

Friday morning, Wayan, our very friendly and helpful  driver arrived and loaded his vehicle with our suitcases, boxes, us and our cash. We explained to him we would like to visit a market to buy some school stationery, toiletries and some large bags of rice etc., for the orphanage children, and we headed off.

Wayan obliged in taking us to a village to buy 2 x 50kg bags of rice, and then to a supermarket style shop in another village for our shopping spree. There we purchased all the exercise books, pencils, sharpeners, scissors, biros, erasers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc, and a couple of bags of sweets for the children that we could with the money we had. The shop was intrigued at our amount of spending and enquired as to why these 4 Australians were in their shop buying all these things with some assistance from our Balinese driver. Upon hearing our intent, the  Store donated some boxes of new drinking glasses to take along as well.

We were starting to get really excited now, our plan was coming together beautifully, the wagon was loaded to the brim with our goodies, we were all in good spirits, our driver Wayan was looking after us in the manner you become accustomed to in Bali, and we were now heading to find the Orphanage.

Eventually somehow, Wayan located the Orphanage (obviously he has a far better understanding of Balinese street signs than we did), and we introduced ourselves to Mrs Made Gunasih, the lady who cares for and teaches the 38 children at the time residing at her Orphanage. We were taken inside and greeted by some of the kids sitting all very quietly in chairs behind a long trestle table, and we were seated at another table where we were welcomed with cold water, fruit and pancakes. Initially we had the opportunity, with some help from Wayan's interpreting to ask any questions we wanted to about the Orphanage, the children and their daily routines.

At the time of this visit, 22 of the children were intellectually disabled, 4 physically disabled, 12 hearing impaired and 1 visually impaired. Made introduced us to some of the children and explained their disabilities, and demonstrated to us how she would endeavour to teach the hearing impaired children to learn to speak, which was quite amazing.

We saw the children's dormitory as well, 20 single beds in one larger room, each with a single sheet on the over-used mattress, and 2 pillows. They sleep 2 children per bed, generally boys one side, girls along the other.

We asked Made.. "What is their priority need?" Her answer was simply - "Toilets for the children". A couple of us had seen their toilet facility upon arriving at the orphanage, and quietly agreed amongst ourselves this was definitely the case. All this time the kids sat quietly and politely in their chairs.

We explained to Made that in the car, we had some items for the children that we would like to give out. With all our questions answered, we unloaded the vehicle of our bags and boxes and rice and carried everything inside, the children politely and quietly assisting where they could.

Back inside, we started to hand out stationery kits for the children for their schoolwork which they gratefully accepted with shy smiles. We then opened up cases and boxes of toys, dolls, etc and began to distribute some of these to the children. The younger girls would very eagerly take a doll, and hug it tightly, never to be let go of again.

We handed out some balloons - firstly the children looked as if to say, what do we do with these. So, we inflated some of the balloons and tying knots in them, showed them to throw the balloons in the air and hit them around the room to each other, and magically these kids came alive with joy. These children had obviously not even seen a balloon before, let alone some of the other toys we had for them.

So we spent an hour or so, playing with them, showing them how to use building blocks to build a little house, and then knock it over and build it again, putting hair clips in the girls hair, throwing balloons and balls around, etc. Their little faces just lit up and they had just the best time playing with the toys. Before we knew it, these shy, quiet children were, wanting to play with us, wanting to take photos with our cameras and to have their photos taken, throwing balloons to us and giving us the 'thumbs up' sign and openly hugging us as their only way of saying thank you. They were very excited at what the day had brought them and were having the time of their lives - their faces by now, just beaming beautiful big smiles.

As we eventually said our farewells and drove away from the orphanage, we thought, poor Made is never going to get those children to settle down to sleep tonight. But we left feeling on top of the world and totally rewarded and satisfied for what we had been able to give these children.

It was during our drive back to Kuta when we were talking about our visit and we remembered Made's comment of "Toilets for the children".

We asked Wayan, our driver, how it would be possible for us if we were to raise money and send it to Bali, to know that it would go directly for the use of building the toilets. Wayan, who was equally as touched by the visit to the orphanage as we were, immediately said, he wanted to help us to manage this and make sure our money was used in the way we wanted. He offered to drive up to the Orphanage when he goes home to visit his family in a nearby village to make all necessary arrangements, find the right people to do the work and check on progress when the toilets were being built.

Within five minutes, our decision was made - we had decided - We can build these kids some toilets, and we will do this!  Because we can!   From that moment on, there has been no doubt in our minds that these kids, were, if nothing else, going to have decent sanitary facilities, something that we in Australia, simply take for granted.

Wayan visited us at the hotel the next day, bringing his son, Ketut to meet us. Ketut, a 20 year old student, is able to go to the internet cafe, and emailed us once or twice a week with reports from his father, and relayed our messages back to Wayan, himself now becoming very involved in our project.

At the time of writing this, Wayan (with Ketut) have visited the orphanage on our behalf several times, having advised Made that we are going to build toilet facilities for the children, and have had an Architect draw up plans for the toilet facilities and arranged a written quotation, which we now have. We are at the stage where we are ready to start work on site. In the next month or so we are planning a short visit to Bali to make some final arrangements at the orphanage and take some funds up to get work underway.

We must emphasise, our trips to Bali are all personally funded. We love visiting Bali, two of us having been there every year since the 1970's for a holiday, and the other two, whilst not having visited near as often, love the island and its people just as much. Our trips to Bali are part of our annual holidays, only we have another reason to go there now as well.

So…. That is the story of how this venture came to be. If you have visited Bali, you probably share the love of the Balinese people and their island, and understand how easy it could be to want to contribute to some less fortunate people than yourself, even more so after their worlds were torn apart by the tragic 2002 bombings.

We do this simply … Because We Can!

September 2004 …

Well… That was the beginning of "Bikabele" - A name we arrived at by using the first 2 letters of each of the four friends names who visited the Orphanage in August 2003 - (Bill, Kay, Beverley & Leanne). So, now for the continued story -

Bikabele was able to gather sufficient funds with ease, through assistance from friends and family, and through some wonderful support from businesses upon hearing our story, being very willing to contribute to enable these children the simple privilege of having some decent sanitary facilities. In no time, we had the amount to cover the quotation to commence works at the Orphanage.

Once we had the funds available we arranged a meeting with the Builder, and met up at the Orphanage a second time to sign a formal contract for him to undertake the work required. We had no hesitation in leaving the funds with Wayan (our driver) and he and Ketut were able to oversee all the works and be the liaison point between Bikabele, the Orphanage, and the Builders, and making progress payments to the Builders upon completion of each stage of the works. We were also able to have some minor repairs done around the Orphanage Home with some left over funds we had or contributed ourselves, in the way of roof repairs etc.

Before long, we had news through to say, "the children have their new toilet facilities - work is now complete". One of the Bikabele group flew up to Bali and visited the Orphanage to ensure the works were to our satisfaction, and was happy to report on return that, everything has been done - just as reported by Wayan & Ketut to us.

We were then approached saying that the Orphanage would like to have a customary 'blessing ceremony' for their new facilities, and would we be able to attend to be part of their blessing - and to also be blessed, as their way of saying 'thank you'.

As we made arrangements for our next holiday in Bali (keeping in mind, we pay our own expenses to travel to and from the Orphanage) and word got back around to the wonderful friends and family who gave us 100% support to enable this project to happen, a 'group' began to develop to go on holidays to Bali working in with the timing of the Orphanages planned Ceremony. Knowing our genuine reasons and sincerity in doing these works for the Orphanage for some underprivileged and disadvantaged children in Bali many of our friends and family who assisted us along the way, were keen to come with us to visit the Orphanage, and see firsthand for themselves why was it we wanted to do these works for the Orphanage - and of course to have a holiday in Bali.

So in July 2004, a group of 28 of us - family, friends and friends-of-friends from all parts of Australia, headed up to Bali for a 10-day holiday with a pre-set date to visit the Orphanage for their ceremony.

The 31st July was the date set for the Semara Putra Orphanage Blessing Ceremony. We had emailed ahead to Ketut with the numbers that were coming, and Wayan & Ketut went to an extraordinary amount of effort to arrange transport for us all to get to the Orphanage (a 1.5 hour drive from Kuta) and again make sure we were treated in a manner that one can become very accustomed to in Bali. On the way, Wayan and Ketut, took us via their home in a village about a half hour from the Orphanage where we were greeted by approx 20 members of their immediate & extended family, with some traditional Balinese refreshments and some beautiful hospitality, which was just the start to what was going to be one very special day. Their family had arranged Balinese costumes for everyone in the group (sarongs and headpieces with frangipani flowers) and the family helped their now, rather large "Aussie family" to get dressed into the costumes.

So the excitement was building - everyone was in the best of spirits after being treated like royalty by Wayan and Ketut's family, and all dressed ready to go and see the children.

Upon arriving at Semara Putra Orphanage, we were greeted and each presented with a garland of frangipani flowers around our necks by the children. We were then all seated in the main 'eating hall' of the Orphanage for a very traditional Balinese Cleansing Ceremony performed by the Village High Priest, which was just an amazing and emotional experience. This was followed with dancing performances by the children which was incredible to see these children dancing their traditional dances - guided by a teacher using hand signals in order for the children to stay in time with the music, considering that the majority of the children are deaf. Made, the carer of the children then gave a speech in her broken English, thanking the people of Australia for their generosity in providing the Orphanage with the improvements to their sanitary facilities, for which they were very grateful for. One of our group, Jenny, then presented the Orphanage with a beautiful patchwork wall hanging of Australian animals, made up especially for the children by a group of 'patchwork' ladies in the South West of WA.

After hanging the patchwork wall hanging in the main hall of the Orphanage everyone then had the opportunity to inspect the very simplistic facilities of the Orphanage and mix and play with the children - the male members of our group teaching the children how to kick and handball an Aussie Rules football. The smiles and laughter on those children's faces, and their little hugs, was about as rewarding as anything you could ever ask for, and only cemented in our minds, why we, as "Bikabele Cares for Kids", chooses to continue giving and caring for children who are less advantaged than many.

We believe every one of the other 24 Australians who visited the Orphanage with us that day, was touched at how such a simple gesture of giving and caring for a group of 'special' kids was so genuine, and can be so rewarding, and we have had continued follow ups on "What is next for Bikabele - Can we be involved; - We have friends who wish to support your cause; - We have some ideas for how to raise funds; - Let us know when the next project comes up so we can assist you" etc. The continuance of support shown to Bikabele has been humbling - to think we started just as four friends on holidays, wanting to donate some toys and school stationery, to some children who had near nothing to call their own.
Simply … Because we can!

May 2005 …

Where to now for Bikabele?

The founders of ""Bikabele", - Bill, Kay, Bev & Leanne have discussed what does the future hold for Bikabele.

It is readily agreed, that there is a huge amount of interest in supporting a Group, who have a genuine intent of finding meaningful projects to fund, with 100% of monies raised going direct to the benefit of orphaned, underprivileged or disadvantaged children, and with it also comes an opportunity to be very much a part of that giving and caring in a personal way should donors wish to do so.

We've had many offers to date from friends and family, and indeed people we do not even know, to be involved in a more formalised "Bikabele" group, to offer assistance, join a committee, etc to raise money and support regular causes where a need is identified throughout the Australasian region.

Bikabele has had further discussions with the Panti Asuhan Semara Putra Orphanage on providing Specialist treatment and Hearing Aids to the deaf or partly-deaf children at that Orphanage, which is quite a few of the children. We are keen to move forward on a project whereby people or groups of people can 'sponsor a child to have a hearing aid fitted' to assist them to develop further with their education and go onto a more rewarding life than they otherwise might have. The concept is that, the family or group who sponsors a child for hearing aid assistance, will receive a photograph and details of that child that they have personally sponsored.

We have also identified the areas affected by the Tsunami on 26th December 2004 as being another area we would like to offer some aid to - in offering support to an orphanage or a school in one of the devastated areas, knowing it is going to take many years for the people affected by this disaster to get back to a life in any way, shape or form to a life that resembles what they had prior to the tsunami - as simple as it may have been. As we know there are countless numbers of orphans in several countries as a result of this disaster.

Our intent is to formalise "Bikabele Cares for Kids" by seeking Incorporation, on the basis that our vision and our genuine intent does not change from the day we decided to build some sanitary facilities for the special children of Panti Asuhan Semara Putra Orphanage.

Upon Incorporation, then we plan to continue firstly, to make arrangements with Doctors and Specialists on the Hearing Aid program for the Orphanage children in Bali - we intend to firm up on some arrangements during a visit to Bali in September 2005. Our intent is to provide Hearing Aids for 2 or 3 of the children initially as a pilot program, and see how they develop with the adjustments to life through the assistance of Made, their carer, and hopefully can move smoothly into a better life. Made is keen for us to proceed with the program and understands the transitional stage the children will go through, who will require tuition then to learn to speak. The children will be supported by Bikabele to ensure they receive the appropriate tuition required to move their lives forward, and eventually be able to attend further education through mainstream schooling, which will eventually enable them to move into the workforce without any disability.

At any stage of Bikabele raising funds, the direct cause will be known - so any donors are aware directly where their donations will be going and for what purpose and for which children they will be assisting. This will mean if a donor wishes to get more involved through Bikabele, they can, and will have the opportunity if they wish to even get to meet the children or child that they have generously contributed towards enriching their lives. This of course, will always be on the understanding and policy of Bikabele, that any visits overseas are paid for personally by the visitor or member of Bikabele whom is travelling.

We are genuinely intent on moving forward in our vision of Giving, Caring and Supporting orphaned, underprivileged and/or disadvantaged children in the Australasian region as we identify needs and causes we feel fit within our criteria.

October 2005 …

Bikabele Cares for Kids Inc has met the requirements and is now a recognised and Registered Charitable Organisation, achieving Incorporation in October 2005 under the Western Australian Associations Incorporation Act 1987. The registration number being A1012443P.

The Incorporation brings a whole new wave of enthusiasm to Bikabele, and we are excited to be able to persue some very worthwhile projects and help some very needy children for a long time to come. Our voluntary work will continue to occur on an ongoing basis - under our Policy of absolutely 100% of raised funds will go directly to the childrens' benefit, with no loss to Administration costs and fees.

Please visit our "News and Fundraising" pages on this site to keep abreast of our current activities at any time.

Bikabele Cares for Kids Inc is also on the lookout for other children suffering challenges in life, without any funding to help them with medical treatment or for an acceptable lifestyle. If you know of an unfortunate child or children that fall within this category, please contact Bikabele and we will be happy to assess their needs and determine if we are in a position to help them on their way to a better life.

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Founded 8 August, 2003 Bikabele Cares for Kids Inc. A registered non-profit Community based Charity Organisation.
Registration No. A1012443P.Site Created By iTechnoweb.com
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