Press Release: 25 September, 2005
On the occasion of the Launch of "The Art of Learning by Doing"
at Linda Garland's Environmental Bamboo Foundation, Nyuh Kuning, Ubud
A NEW KIND
Ekoturin Foundation’s East Bali Poverty Project, established in July 1998 in response to a plea for help by an isolated mountain village of over two thousand families, with no water supply, roads or electricity, has focused upon education as the force to alleviate poverty. When the foundation was first conceived, most
children in this isolated area of East Bali were malnourished and illiterate, and the nearest government schools and health clinics were two to five hours mountainous walk away. Interviews in late 1998 with over 1,000 families revealed a myriad of problems, yet when asked their most urgent need, the villagers requested “education for our children so that they can lead us to a better life and a self-sufficient future”.
The East Bali Poverty Project’s mission is “to empower illiterate and malnourished children, reduce poverty and promote culturally and ecologically sensitive sustainable development in impoverished rural communities”, and the promise of
“No handouts of money, rice or any short-term solutions: any project must empower you, be sustainable and in accordance with the community’s aspirations and needs”, was the springboard for an inspiring and productive collaboration that began with communities in five of the most isolated hamlets.
David & Sarita accompany Dr Djelantik on arrival takes into account the situation of the families of the children, and focuses upon their needs. By only going to school for three days a week, half a day each day, enabling them to still help their parents in the fields and feeding the cows that are their main source of income, these children have managed to cover the entire government curriculum and to date, 97 children have passed the government exams with good
grades, as well as to learn new practical skills in the all-important fields of health and sanitation, nutrition and sustainable organic agriculture.
The children have become the catalyst for positive change in their previously subsistence farming mountain society. They are now their parent’s teachers, especially in the rudiments of organic vegetable farming, the key to ultimate food security, self-reliance, sustainable health improvement and ultimate sustainable social and economic development. Many nutritious vegetables and medicinal herbs are now growing on steep and previously barren slopes that had never supported crops before, not even cassava.
At the time of publishing this book, in 2005, the children are becoming expert trainers in land improvement and erosion control and many of their parents are learning in East Bali Poverty Project’s farming cooperatives to stabilise terraces with Vetiver grass, fertilize with organic worm castings and grow new varieties of vegetables, passing on their seeds to new groups at the end of their first year.
New horizons and prospects for the future are opening up every day, with the confidence the children are gaining in the fields of Art, Writing, Theatre and their experience in Organic Gardening. Food security, self reliance and sustainable social and economic development are all now within reach of these isolated communities that only six short years ago had no communication with the outside world and did not believe that life could ever change.
Jane Hawkins, Made Wijaya, Dr Djelantik & Victor Mason have refreshments in the children’s art gallery Linda Garland & David announce the programmes to a
EBPP’s Bunga children illustrate Chapter 2 of “The Art of Learning by Doing”: ‘School at Last’
memorise facts, or coerced into coming back to school after dark to take additional courses for high achievement.
In this new kind of Education, created through "The Art of Learning by Doing" at East Bali Poverty Project, it is possible to elevate the children and all their families into improving their own environment, taking good care of their sanitation and nutrition to attain good health, and to create a gentle and caring environment, giving our children the keys to developing a healthy, sustainable and joyous lifestyle, within their own communities, for the future of all.
EBPP junior high school children, tutors and staff flanked by Linda Garland and David, at the rear of Linda’s house prior to departure to Desa Ban, a 3-hour bus trip - and an extra 3-hour’s walk home for many
for more information, please contact:
David J Booth MBE or Tri