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Helping Bali

If you genuinely want to help the Balinese during these hard times, BLTF has some suggestions for you. But please read the warnings at the end!

1) Use only 100% ethical and legal businesses (hotels, drivers, tour operators, travel agents, money changers, etc.).

2) Balinese children are too often poor and can not afford educational basics such as pencils. Giving a few dollars of pencils to a deserving child will both help them develop and promote a pro-foreign attitude within the community.

3) Never talk down to a Balinese, and never ever swear at anyone in Bali.

4) When you are negotiating a price at a local market, think about whether getting an item for 5,000, 10,000 or 15,000 rupiah really makes that much difference to you, because it may make a lot of difference to a stall holder’s family. If you like to negotiate, great, get the rock bottom price and then add something at the end.

5) Ask travel agents, tour operators and hotels to give you a price excluding service charges, so you can them give this to the staff personally (to make sure they get it). Service charges are not mandatory. If an agent, operator or hotel tells you they are or tells you the price is the same without service charges, please do not do business with them as it is clear they do not pass 10% to the staff as they legally should.

6) Consider buying Indonesian to English language CD’s, tapes and books from shops like Macro or Matahari while you are in Bali to give to children. English language skills will allow them to earn a better living when they are older.

7) Consider sponsoring a deserving child or family. It is fairly easy, all you have to do is open a bank account when you first arrive in Bali (a useful thing to do anyway – see BLTF’s currency exchange page). If you find a needy and deserving person or family you wish to sponsor (maybe your driver – if he is unlicensed it is probably because he can not afford to take time off to do the course and exam), get their bank account details; if they do not have one, help them open one. Then arrange a monthly automated transfer from your account to theirs. If you have the same bank, there are normally no bank charges for doing this. Then all you have to do is top up the account from overseas if and when you need to.

8). Report any and all fraud and corruption you witness; read BLTF’s various information pages for advice on how.

9) If, despite reading BLTF’s villa page about unlicensed private holiday homes masquerading as vacation villas you still want to stay at one. Ask the owner if they will give you a discount of 20% because they are unlicensed (that is the approximate advantage they have by avoiding licensing fees and taxes) and then give that money to the Balinese community.

However, be warned, good will attracts bad eggs and the problems are;

1) Hotel staff, the most obvious and easiest target for you generosity are not as needy as the hotel worker who was recently sent home without any salary, service charge bonus, unemployment benefit and / or social security.

2) If you go out looking for a poor needy family, you will probably be conned. It is a well known trick for drivers, hotel staff, etc. to take foreigners to really poor villages on the basis it is their village. Do not fall for this nasty trick and please do not give any such person any gratuity. If you want to find a needy family go to the remote areas of Bali on a day trip and eat, or have a bottle water or hot tea at a local warung (street restraint) in one of these areas. People may stare at you with often intimidating eyes but do not worry, they are just being inquisitive and mean you absolutely no harm. BLTF guarantees if you do this you will both see the other side of Bali and find someone you are able to help and who really needs that help.

3) Approaching children you do not know is not a good idea. But again if you are in a little “warung” restaurant you will likely get the attention of some, especially if you have your own children with you. Please do not give anything to child hawkers in places like Padang Bai (the ferry port for Lombok). Other good places to meet real Balinese families are beaches in places like Pemuteran (where the local kids play on the beach with nothing but empty water bottles and their underpants) or public natural baths like at Air / Yeh Sanih. Another great spot to find, enjoy watching and meet locals is at rivers, where they often bath and wash clothes; although do not look at anyone who is naked, it is insulting and Balinese are meant to ignore each other when they are bathing in public areas.

4) Giving money or gifts to school teachers and / or orphanages is unfortunately fraught with risk. Many child care providers in Indonesia think nothing of stealing from the children in their care.

5) Visiting a local temple, mosque or church (yes there are churches in Bali) will probably help you find the really needy of the area. BLTF suggests you go to all 3 types so you show westerners are interested in and also respect Hindu and Muslim cultures. You will find the people very friendly irrespective of their religion and it may even dispel some preconceptions you might have.