Our future plans - finding long term solutions for the Balinese community

Bali has been going through a big transformation during 2020. The year that started as any other year, but after only two months in, everything changed. Our pilot project in Bali was operating as usual and Bali was as busy and popular for international tourists as always.
When the international borders closed in late March, Bali has changed drastically. Where the streets are usually filled with tourist busses, we saw empty streets, shops closing down and restaurants and hotels totally empty.

For us as a nonprofit organization our main priority is to support our local communities. We took immediate action by handing out food packages and we provided homeschooling for our students.
Read more about that in our blog post
here.

The past months also made us realize that we had to search for solutions for the community that last longer. The dependence on tourism here in Bali has been challenging many times in the past (Bali bomb, earthquakes, volcanoes etc.) and has never been as catastrophic as it is now. The community in Bali does not have a lot of other opportunities to secure a structural income

A new center

Therefore we have developed a new concept of a Learning Center that we plan to open in 2021.  At the center we will provide many different activities for the community. There will still be English classes and we will still welcome international volunteers. But we will also have an extensive skill training program, workshops and events for the community and a lot of job employment.

It is more important than ever to support the local community to invest in other forms of income and economic activities. Volunteer Programs Forever is actively working on finding solutions, such as the construction of a new Learning Center.

Various activities will take place here. For example workshops and training courses are organized to teach the local community new skills to be able to perform other jobs. In the long term, this should ensure that the Balinese economy also slowly shifts to other sources of income than just tourism. That sector will still remain important in the future, but the 'hospitality' sector can also be used more broadly for domestic tourism, expats, services to wealthy Indonesian or Balinese families.

 The main (first) goal is to inspire the community and provide opportunities to think 'out of the box'. To be open to learning new skills and to be able to think broader (there is more than just tourism). In the longer term, the goal of Volunteer Programs Forever is also to offer them the opportunity to start up their own business, to follow additional training courses in different sectors (including by providing scholarships), and to also create extra jobs themselves. 

Where are we at?

Over the past months we have been working very hard to design the concept, we have been working with a local architect to draw up our plans. We have secured a 25 year lease for the land where the Forever Learning Center will be built. Set in the heart of Lodtunduh, the land offers 2800 square meters for our buildings. The land has a spiritual connection as it is close to a holy spring. We have worked closely with people in the local community, our staff and a local architect to develop a plan for the new Center.
The owner of the land is a very respected village leader and comes from a priest family. With his support comes the support of the people of Lodtunduh.

The environment we create for the Balinese community  is crucial. There is an education center where they can learn English and access a community library, a training center where they can follow vocational training and internships and a community center where they can join workshops and events.

This is not just a wish list. We have been working with people across Bali for over 7 years and understand how the local communities work. The local community has been involved in the planning of the Center from its inception and have guided our thinking to find new ways of working that begin to remove their economic dependency on tourism. We speak the local language, we adapt to local culture and traditions and we have a local board who have an advisory role so we can ensure the needs of the community are answered correctly.

We are very excited about this development and we can not wait to open the center, welcome volunteers again and most importantly make a big impact on the local community here in Bali.

If you are interested to support us, please donate directly by clicking here.
If you like to read our financial reports or fundraising proposal, please contact us here.