6 Months Volunteering in the Women Empowerment Project
When I explained to my family and friends that I was going to spend six month on an Indonesian island, the response I got mainly was: „Bali. Beaches. Beer.“
What I really experienced was: „Wise, Wonderful, Wholehearted.“
October 2012 until March 2013. Six months that I would never exchange for anything else in the world. I was fortunate enough to decide a six month internship on Bali would perfectly fit into my cultural studies program back in Germany and was convinced in an instant that the foundation is the right place to commit my time and knowledge to. Working with women that are motivated to learn and envision a brighter future for themselves, their families and their country. It is always an inspiring atmosphere floating through the Cafe, Campus and office.
About the Organization
I found the organization via Bali Internships. It is much easier to organize your time in a foreign country, on a continent you have never been to before with their help. They have staff that supports you with all matters from communication, housing, transport and visa. Of course, you have to pay for that kind of service but the money is worth spending, as I felt a lot more comfortable knowing I could call on someone 24/7.
I was placed in a great villa with pool and garden and met wonderful people their who all interned and worked in other NGOs/ Hotels/ enterprises. It was great to share views, network and link the various projects as well as just plan weekend trips together.
Internships are to learn how to prepare good coffee? Not at my host company. From the beginning the wonderful staff trusted me with tasks I had never expected to be given at that early stage. My tasks varied so much I never got bored and there is no way to put all of it down. However, I enjoyed being in charge of the social network activities, campaign designs for news releases and letters and even gained so much valuable experience in fundraising and event management. We prepared two fundraisers with which I could help and where my opinion was always respected and valued. As my knowledge on the organization built up and I knew the foundation inside out I was allowed to go to Gianyar and talk to sponsors, I even presented our case to the Human Resource Association which connects hotels in Bali and hosts many important people in the hospitality and tourism sector my host organization trains their students up for.
I have been given the opportunity to improve my pedagogical skills by assisting with and even teaching Literacy and Night Classes. The little children were always very grateful for a change and some of the games we played. Also, a advanced English speaker is very good for them to improve their pronunciation and listening skills. From the first moment on I felt involved and knew that my help was appreciated and really made a difference in the daily process.
Only few times have I met people so wholeheartedly committed to a program. Each and every single one of staff, students and volunteers contribute their energy to making the program a success and support the women striving for their future at their best abilities. I would totally recommend my host organization as a place for an internship as every hand is needed and welcome.
A big Thanks to Everyone!
Of course, spending six months abroad is not always merry and fun, however thanks to the organization's on-site support and the great companionship I shared with my villa-mates, I overcame any troubles with stomach, homesickness, police or a boring weekend. Although working hours are long (they always fly past way to fast, though) there is plenty of time to get to know the rich culture of Balinese people. There are beaches, there is beer and it is all part of Bali, but there is so much more under the surface one can discover and learn from. I will be back to see how the organization and the island in general are developing.