How it all started…
Roundabout three years have passed since we brought „Balipockets“ into life. Our little project continues to spark a flame in the hearts of people who want to make the world a better place and think that social justice is key for that. Day by day, our team is working with great commitment towards realising our ideals and creating chances for the children in Bali. Whenever we’re telling someone about Balipockets, we often get the same questions: Why Balipockets? How did this happen? Who had the idea? And why – on earth – this name?
It all started with an idea and a wish from our founder Daniel Gottstein. In the summer of 2015, he did a voluntary service on the isle of Indonesia. Back in wealthy and comfortable Germany, he had time to reflect on his experiences. An idea came to his mind and never left: I want to go there again, with donations in my pocket, and I want to help the schools I teached at.
It is hard to tell if everything started in Bali or in our home region – the Eichsfeld. Probably both. On the 19th of August in 2015, a few friends came together to meet each other after our graduation in 2014. A bonfire was between us and everyone had a lot to tell. Many of us went abroad and we talked about our experiences in other countries and our plans for the future. We were upbeat and ready to head off for new adventures, accompanied by the crackling of the fire. That sounds really cliché now, but that’s what it was. Daniel told us about is own u-turn: How he gave up studying, flew to Bali and now wanted to change the world. We weren’t just surprised, but also curious about the idea he came up wih: Balipockets. What does that mean?
„Bali“ – the little island that stuck in his head. „Pockets“ is a game of ideas. As a European, you can find numerous things in your pockets: car keys, a purse, a smartphone. In Bali, the pockets of the kids or families are often empty. This comparison is made to trigger kindness, to share some of the things we often have more than enough of.
A billion questions were buzzing in our heads, the biggest one: How are we going to do this? In the beginning, the idea was to crowdfund the project via the internet platform „betterplace“. „We have to advertise it, we have to bring it in the local news! Do you want me to do that?“ or „We have to do it in English, as well. Do you want me to translate it?“. The list goes on. We bombarded him with questions and swore to support him. Why? Each of us was back from his or her gap year in another country and we had started to think globally. We wanted to make something out of it and we wanted to give something back. We were fascinated by his idea to do this on our own, and we wanted to take part in it.
Autumn came and and we helped Daniel, as promised. The project started in January 2016. We quickly realized that we needed a legal form so that everything could run smoothly. We needed an association. This wasn’t just legally an important step, but also an ethical one. We had to come out of the closet and take our stand. Supporters grew into association members or board members. Now we didn’t just help the project to pick up speed, we were part of it. Lending a hand shifted to taking responsibility.
We defined our values and goals: We create opportunities. For every child in Bali. This is our motto since 2016 and we live by that day by day.
Since then, our little project grew up, it blossomed and it is racing on. Each and every one in our team has own projects now which we care for voluntarily – besides job, university and our private lifes. We are thrilled and the ideas keep coming. We’ve got several lists with ideas in our virtual Cloud and in our heads that we want to realize, but some have to wait still because we’re either lacking the money, the man- and womenpower or simply the time for that. But we’re not going to be discouraged by that.
We are proud of our progress so far and what became out of our little idea as graduates. We want to take responsibility for this world. It’s not always easy, but it’s important and the right thing to do. Some might say we take our stand. In the end, we’re young people, friends, who want to make a difference and have fun.
What about you? Were you fascinated by the crackling of the bonfire? Are you hooked? Do you like our story? Does it speak to you?
How about becoming part of the family then? Take action! It’s going to pay back.
Sincerely, Anna (deputy chairman)
Primary school (SD) and middle school (SMP) can be visited free of charge in Indonesia. All secondary schools (SMA, technical schools, vocational schools, universities) charge fees. We supported families who can not afford these fees on their own. Unfortunately, some children are also denied access to the elementary school and middle school. The reason: school books, uniforms and trips must be paid by the parents. In impoverished regions, therefore, families are often not able to allow their children to go to primary and secondary school. We also cover the cost of textbooks, uniforms and all other requirements.
Embezzlement of donations is a big issue in Indonesia. How is it ensured that the money really benefits the children?
In advance: a 100% chance that the money will only be used for the intended goals can and will never be. We conclude contracts with the families to secure us in case of embezzlement. If the money is not used as intended by the family, the full amount must be repaid to us. Of course, we also monitor compliance with the guidelines during the entire period of a financed school visit. So far we have not had any bad experiences.
Structural measures can not be afforded by state schools on their own. We ensure that all children have access to clean toilets and water. In addition, we use our means to repair storm damage and damage caused by weather influences. Advanced measures, such as the provision of state-of-the-art, technical and not essential elements, are not part of our portfolio.
In addition to the educational facilities we are able to contact locally through scouting. Schools will be able to apply online in the near future and ask for help. We are currently working intensively on the application process.
School benches, seating, books, workbooks, pens, table tools, globes, science kits, and, and, and. We provide the necessary educational facilities with as much material as possible, which offers equal opportunities for all pupils and, for example, a set consisting of pen and booklet per student is available. Even with small donations you can help in this sector.
Bali lives by the tourism industry. Many young people want to work in hotels or restaurants later. Some children told us that they would even like to be self-employed. We would like to make this dream come true for as many students as possible. In the future, balipockets will act as an intermediary between volunteers and agencies, which can make career counseling and further education courses possible in schools. Basic knowledge in the areas of English, business English, communication coaching, business administration and law should be taught by competent, competent volunteers. We are currently building up the logistics for this voluntary service.
Studying - the dream of many ambitious students. In Bali, however, a luxury unlike. The fees for studying at one of the two universities on the island of the gods are relatively high. It is also not possible for some of the best students to pursue an academic career. By means of a comprehensive application process and subsequent regular reporting (feedback after each semester including the transfer of grades), we want to make sure that our payments are used exclusively for the intended purpose. We are currently working on the logistics for the application process and monitoring.