Words and photograph by Suki Zoe
In the heart of Denpasar, around 45 kids who once begged on the streets, now have a brighter future. Through the work of “Safe Childhoods Centre of Street Children”, they now have access to free schooling, fresh food, clean air and a garden in which to play—a safe haven, away from the slums in which they live. In exchange, their mothers—used to long days of begging with their children on polluted streets—commit to paid work offered to them through the organization. Some kids have stopped begging, but many more still spend their days on Sunset Road.
A peek into the jovial workspace illuminates the success of the project. Safe Childhoods recently moved to a beautiful new location, with 2 cheerfully-painted classrooms, a large sunny toy-filled playroom, a tranquil resting room, medical room, kitchen, 2 workspaces for the mothers and a garden to grow their own food. Most of the families have migrated from rural East Bali (where the dry climate severely affects food production) to Denpasar in search of work.
Many of the children suffer from neglect, abuse and malnutrition having spent months a years of their lives breathing constant traffic fumes and panhandling day and night. With the help of “Bali Kids” they are offered medical support—identifying those being abused or neglected. With the support of Safe Childhoods, their daily lives have shifted dramatically. The education is specially tailored to their needs, and adapts to their behaviour and chaotic lifestyles.
There is a joyful camaraderie here: the mothers talk and laugh quietly, while the kids play easily together without age divide or separation. The two teachers, Angie and Indah are young, dedicated, caring and truly making a difference.
Jewellery company, Ananda Soul Creations outsources some of their production to Safe Childhoods, as well as donating a percetage of profits to their charity. Owner Christina Zipperlin spends time with the mothers, teaching them jewellery making techniques.
“Gradually we are changing the children’s perspectives for the future, encouraging them to become teachers, nurses and other professionals instead of repeating the cycle of begging.”
Founder, Natalia Perry.
For more information on the charity and founder and director Natalia Perry: www.safechildhoods.org
Reprinted with permission from: www.qito.co.ukby