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Visit Bali and Contribute to the Community

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24th Aug 2022

If you think of Bali as a tropical paradise with magnificent beaches, turquoise waters, and green landscapes — you are right! It’s why many tourists find this Indonesian island archipelago as one of the most desired locations to vacation, get married, or spend their honeymoon.

However, there is another side of Bali that offers insight into its culture, traditions, people, and wildlife, and that's volunteering. For those who want to visit Bali and contribute to the community, here are our top picks for how you can help and have a great time doing it. 

Help the endangered turtles

Serangan Island is a breeding ground for turtles that are always in danger due to the illegal trading of these animals. If you want to help, you can get all the information you need at the Turtle Conservation and Education Center. There, you can become a volunteer, adopt a baby turtle, or donate to the center’s efforts to protect these animals. The plus side of adopting a baby turtle is that you get to release it into the sea when the time comes. 

Support the local artisans

Balinese classical painting is unique and passed down to generations, so buying from local artisans will fund the community and support such tradition. Kamasan Village is the best spot in Bali to take a closer look at workshops and art of the Kamasan-style of painting. This style is special for its natural shades and depiction of the Mahabharata and Ramayana periods, with many paintings displayed in the village galleries and family-owned ateliers. 

Balinese believe that the artist serves as an interpreter for the esoteric world, helping ordinary people to understand and be close to stories from the scriptures. So, as a foreigner, you can learn more about Balinese culture by looking at these paintings, especially when explained by the artists in the village.     

Renovate local schools and community centers

Villages in Bali often lack schools, playgrounds, community centers, and other types of infrastructure that would benefit the population. You can help by participating in the renovation and building of such facilities, without needing previous knowledge in construction. Painting, gardening, carpentry, laying bricks, and masonry are some of the efforts you can join to improve the local communities. In case you can’t do the work, you can leave a donation to buy materials and bring toys for the children when you come to visit.

Teach English to the local community

Bali offers a wonderful opportunity to teach English abroad, both children and adults, at local kindergartens, schools, after-school clubs, and community centers. For Balinese people, English is one of the most important skills to have so they can work in the tourist industry. Moreover, if you are studying English, your college may offer academic credits for this type of volunteering, as well. 

Those inexperienced in teaching can join other volunteers and see how to approach the curriculum. Usually, kids, especially in kindergarten, are thought through games and play, but you can also use this approach on adults to make it more fun and less rigid.

Learn how to cook Balinese cuisine

You will notice that Balinese markets are full of colorful products, grown in Bali and used for their local dishes. If you want to recreate some of them, we suggest you stop by Kemenuh Village and learn how to cook Balinese cuisine. This is a complete experience with going to the market, getting ingredients, being thought how to prepare them, and then participating in music and dancing. 

Everything you see on the markets is grown by local farmers or caught by fishermen. The money they earn on the market goes directly to the local community, as income for the farmers and investment in future products.

Buy locally-made souvenirs

Other locally-made products you can buy are souvenirs. Forget fridge magnets and go for something crafted by the locals, like baskets made from palm leaves. This is long-standing craftsmanship in Bali and you will see such items even in the city markets. However, go to the source, for example, Cangkeng Village, and buy them from craftsmen directly. 

This will leave all the earnings with the village, as well as give you the chance to experience some of the amazing Balinese nature. Hiking to Cangkeng will show you more of the other part of Bali, full of mountainous landscapes, lakes, and lush forests.  

Join a health education program

Bali provides an opportunity for future and established healthcare professionals to spread knowledge and educate local communities. For example, you can volunteer as an educator, teaching basic hygiene to children and adults, like how to correctly wash teeth and hands. If you are medically qualified, you can teach first-aid or help at the local health center. Even if you are not medically trained, you can still help by assisting the staff with meal preparation, cleaning, or renovation of the health centers.  

All in all

It doesn't take much to visit Bali and contribute to the community. With so many volunteer programs out there, you can always find the one to join. This is probably the best way to experience Bali. You will meet the local population, learn its customs and traditions, and visit remote spots ordinary tourists miss. On top of that, you will grow spiritually through volunteer work, support for local communities, and becoming part of Bali's recovery.