Although there is a school in every region (eight in total) in Bali for children with a mental disability from the age of seven, there is not much specific knowledge about these children and about fitting education methods. The education is class wise and the focus is mostly at cognitive development, like this also finds place at regular schools in Bali. The teachers try, with their own insights, to fit the needs of every individual’s needs and possibilities of the students, but do not have enough instruments and knowledge.
We made contact with three special schools in Singaraja, Gianyar and Denpasar. The management and teachers were very enthusiastic about our projects and plans for the foundation such as giving workshops. Management and teachers have been invited to have a look at our foundation so we could explain them what we are doing and why. In the meanwhile, we already gave a few workshops and we are looking for more possibilities to work together with the SLB schools. One of our old volunteers visited the SLB in Singaraja once a week for a year to join different classes. She brought different play-learning materials and discussed together with the teachers how they were doing in the classes and gave an advice when necessary.
Our experiences show us that it is very hard to help changing or improving the form of education in the SLB. On the one hand it is because of the curriculum of the government and on the other hand it is because of the restricted possibilities of the teachers themselves. We will keep continuing inviting the SLB for workshops and enlightenments.
In order to share our knowledge and experiences with third parties, we have organized a variety of workshops. Two students did a research about the need for knowledge and information in different target groups. They claimed that there was a need about image building and knowledge about people with a mental disability for parents, teachers and employees of local clinics(Puskesmas). In cooperation with the Balinese teachers they developed an informative workshop.
Together with a Japanese foundation, J2Network, who wants to stimulate the reading culture in Indonesia, workshops have been given to parents and teachers about children’s books and the benefits of reading to children. This foundation has helped us to start a small children’s library in our building in Ubud. In cooperation with a Dutch dentist we gave workshops about mouth- and teeth attendance. Later on, the children are treated by a Balinese dentist in Denpasar. At the university of Singaraja we gave a enlightenment college to 300 students who are studying for their teacher degree about children/people with a mental disability.
In some cases visitors of our foundation spontaneously offer their services to our foundation when they visit us. One day we had a female clown who organized an interactive and fun afternoon with all the groups. Music-, painting-, dance- and yoga lessons were given by enthusiastic and involved professionals. Children and parents enjoyed it to the fullest!