Yayasan Widya Sari: Volunteer Teaching Children in Bali

Video and Photos

My B1A class with their certificates
My B1A class with their certificates
Taking plenty pictures at the Goodbye ceremony
Taking plenty pictures at the Goodbye ceremony
Nora with two student at the Goodbye ceremony
Nora with two student at the Goodbye ceremony
Kindergarten
Kindergarten
B2 Class
B2 Class
Kindergarten Farewell Ceremony
Kindergarten Farewell Ceremony
in komang's warung
in komang's warung
the last day
the last day

About

Volunteer in Bali is a non-profit foundation (Yayasan Widya Sari) located in a traditional fishing village by the Sea in Bali, Indonesia.

Through the support of our wonderful international volunteers we are able to offer underprividege Balinese children free education classes to learn English, music/singing, art/craft, sport and basic skills in using a computer.

Since the tourism industry is so important in Bali, learning English gives our children a better chance at success to support their families.

Volunteers can also be involved in teaching dance lessons, going to Balinese ceremonies and temples with the local community. Visiting the local traditional markets, cooking delicious Balinese food and or just enjoying the warm water at the beach that is only 100 meters away from the volunteer's accommodation.

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Questions & Answers

Hey volunteers, The volunteer program fee paid once you get in Bali during the program orientation. Regards, Volunteer in Bali Team

Reviews

98%
based on 40 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 31 - 40 of 40
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Philip
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Greatest Gift in My Life

I arrived in Bali, Indonesia on 27th of March, 2015 and stayed there until 20th of June, 2015, exactly for 12 weeks in total. The three-months long journey turned out to be a surprise gift, like the one my students lovingly gave me on my last day. I expected A but instead was given A, B, and C. The original purpose of the trip was to learn how the people in the "third world country" lived differently from the people in the "first world." Not only have I learned the Balinese lifestyle but I also experienced something new, something of which I had been wholly ignorant before: that a human community can be a rich blessing to an individual and that kids are indeed the manifestation of human goodness. In short, my stay at a small Tianyar village turned out to be a rare opportunity that actually made a lasting impact on my perspective and my future course of life.

Growing up in the developed countries like South Korea and the United States, my perspective of life and the world naturally had been limited to that of people with similar background. Life, for me and for others, consisted of constant competitions one after another, and the "winner" was whoever could stay longest on the treadmill of the 21st century version of Hunger Game. Like many of my generation I felt disgust on this notion of life and felt strongly for doing something against this momentum of the first world life. I'd been thirsty for a chance to explore the other world, different than my own.

An occasion turned my vague feeling into a specific idea. Five years ago I heard in one of the sermons that the lives of great people, like Tolstoy or Gandhi, were transformed when they encountered the reality of the people in drastically different living-condition and lifestyle. "Go!" the pastor said, "meet these people yourself. See their reality with your own eyes. You'll never be the same." Since then I had felt a strong need to go to countries like India, or just any countries generally considered "third world", and meet the harsh reality of the people there.

With such aspirations I came to Indonesia. But I encountered something I did not anticipate. I expected the shocking poverty or the abysmal misery of the people. Instead I saw people living more or less contently with the small possession they had. Hardly anyone was miserable. I could easily think of more miserable people back home. Don't get me wrong; people in Indonesia are poor, at least money-wise. Many live in hut-looking houses; hardly any families own cars; students cannot afford college education; many have to buy water for everyday use; for most, traveling other countries sounds like an impossible dream.

However, they were hardly in abject condition by any standards. What I saw in general in the poor fisherman village and elsewhere in Bali and Indonesia was the cheerful people who seemed to be way happier than their counterparts with hundredfold income on the other side of the globe. "It is not the man who has too little who is poor," said Seneca, "but the one who hankers after more." The poor was not they as much as we. I went to Indonesia ready to feel pity on the local people, but ironically I couldn't help feel pity on the people in South Korea and America for their comparatively too competitive and stressful lifestyle.

Sure, Balinese people have very few by our standard - no fancy vacations or new iPhones - but they still retain what we also had had long time ago: the spirit of community. Even more, they are blessed with the privilege of truly enjoying every moment, with friends and families (the distinction is blurred in Bali), not having to incessantly worry about their tomorrows or some distant future - the fundamental ingredient of everyday happiness. Unfortunately, we in the first world countries have lost the ability of enjoying the moment for its own sake and of truly appreciating and be satisfied with the few most important things in life, like family, fresh air, and exchange of innocent smiles. We somehow transformed our society into Hobbes' "war of all against all." I'm in awe of this village that still retains the spirit of community, which unites everyone and builds a strong trust and bondage between each other.

In this peaceful village, time seems to matter less. People are not caught up with set schedules or personal pursuits. The kids seem to really enjoy their childhood, following their innate desires to be with friends, run barefoot, swim in the beach, play soccer and games, etc., without any constraints on their natural passion from either their parents or society. There is no doubt that they were much happier than their counterparts in South Korea and other developed countries. Of course, the kids I am talking about are from seven to fifteen years old, and they may get stuck in reality of life as they get older. Still, I feel happy as I see them so happy. I only wish Korean kids could enjoy their right of childhood as well.

During the three months of stay, I've grown so much as a person and extended my personal horizon, mainly thanks to the unique circumstance I was in where I was forced to socialize with other people, whether co-volunteers or students. As a natural introvert, who finds comfort and energy when being alone in a quiet place, it was initially a serious challenge, both mentally and physically. But I took this time as an opportunity to outgrow my former self and get out of my comfort-zone. After some initial struggle I think I achieved some success in this endeavor, or so people have told me.

Teaching is an art, a craft in it self that requires a series of failures and endless endeavor to master. I was a novice in this art and had to go through strings of failures in the beginning. As I had never taught kids so young as these before, the job was as daunting as it could get. When doing worksheets, ten students call my name for help all at the same time every two seconds. When I am helping one, another keeps insisting I should come to her now, and I tell her to wait just to be called by another. Some students can be rowdy talking to friends while I teach. Imagine a novice introvert teacher struggling to keep the class organized and under control. Yes, it was demanding job, at least initially. To my great relief, teaching gradually became manageable and I grew more confident everyday. After a while, I began to enjoy teaching, not only because it could be fun and meaningful but also the kids were so responsive and adorable to interact with. Once the kids open their minds and trust their teachers, they are the most respectful and enthusiastic students you can imagine. I'd even say It's a privilege to teach such bright and good-natured kids.

I still vividly remember my first day at Yayasan Widya Sari. Everything was so exotic. Three hut-looking classrooms among the tall palm trees and tiny kids with big eyes crowding around a whiteboard eagerly listening to their foreign teachers. I was so excited that I was here so different from everything I had experienced all my life but at the same time so nervous not knowing what to do other than just looking at their innocent faces. At that time, several kids came to me, no, ran towards me, with biggest smiles you've seen, asking my name and where I came from. In turn, I asked their names and they were some of the cutest names I know: Tri, Puspita, Ayu, etc. They instantly suggested me to play games together and taught me some of the games they know right then. Then I taught them the games I know and they were so happy to learn and play new games. In the very first encounter, I was accepted into their group and we were friends by the end. How can I forget such a moment? I've had numerous such moments in the last three months. They are the greatest gifts the kids at Yayasan gave me, which I will be remembering even in my grave.

What would you improve about this program?
I cannot think of one at the top of my head. Everything seems to be the best the way it is now with the available resources and man-power.
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Van
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best experience in my life! Even after more than a year, I still miss it every day!

This really, réally was the best experience in my life! A friend of me and I did the volunteering as our internship for school. We were both studying to be a teacher in high school and this amazing experience counted as our internship.

I'm really glad we got this opportunity. Bali and yayasan both stole my heart. Bali is such a great, beautiful country full of friendly and helpful people. I loved to live there!
Yayasan is placed in an awesome spot in Bali: really local, close to the sea. But really pretty! Once you are in Yayasan for a few days/weeks, everyone in the village knows you as a teacher of yayasan, so everyone will speak to you, help you,... You also get really involved with yayasan itself and the village: you go with Ketut (the owner of the place) to ceremonies, he helps you finding fun things to do in the weekends,...
The kids in Yayasan are also truly amazing! Even if you get there for the first second they are happy and thankful you want to be there. Also in class they really behave and are lots of fun!

You live at Yayasan, the school itself, together with the other volunteers and Ketut and his family. Personally I think it makes the experience even better: you live with a real local family and get to know the real Bali. Not the touristic Bali. Even though you live with Ketut and his family, you have all the luxury you need. You sleep with 2 volunteers in one room, you have your own bed and your own bathroom with a western toilet, a douche and a basin. What do you need more? Bali is such a great country where you live outside, so it is really enough!

In the weekends yayasan is close to 'ocean view': an awesome resort where you can lay and chill the whole day IF you buy a drink or so. They have the best juices ever! You can also dive at ocean view, where you can see the ship wrackage.

If you have never teached before and you are scared to stand in front of a whole class: DON'T! It is really amazing. You are also never alone for class: you always teach in pairs of two. Next to that the kids are amazing, smart and they will help you. The teaching is also not the same as in the western world: you can sing with the class, dance with them,....

Also after 'school hours' the kids are often at yayasan, because it is such an awesome place. Even then you can play with them.

Ketut's family also prepares the food for you, also this is awesome: especially the noodels, I still miss them every day!

I can talk for hours about yayasan and this awesome place. But really: IT IS AWESOME! I'm so glad I did this, and I will go back for sure! It really stole my heart!

At last I want to thank Ketut again for everything he has done for all the volunteers and me. He is truly the best host you can wish for and next to that an amazing person I truly admire.

What would you improve about this program?
Gho, this is a hard question for me. I truly can't say anything bad about the program! It has nice accomodations, the best hosts ever, awesome kids, good classes to teach in, it is close to the sea,.... What do you want more? Ketut also helps you with évéry problem you have, so if you have one: just talk to Ketut and he will help you!
Default avatar
Montserrat
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An unforgettable experience

If I start telling you about my volunteering at the Yayasan Widya Sari in Tianyar, I really wouldn’t know where and how to start.
I experienced so many beautiful moments, met wonderful people, collected one of a kind experiences, which changed me in such a positive way. In Tianyar I actually spent one of the best times in my life.

I am overjoyed to have made this decision to spend 4 months there. I even extended my stay for one month because I just didn’t want to leave this beautiful place.
There is so much to be found in this place, so much happiness, so much joy, so much harmony and love…

During my 4 months I taught the preschool class, the A classes and all computer classes. All the children that I taught were 8 – 15 years old. At first I was incredibly nervous, no wonder, since I had never taught English before. But all my worries quickly vanished when I finally met the children. These children are so warm-hearted, happy and so affectionate. Their beautiful smiles were contagious. Teaching the classes was great fun. Every class has its own curriculum so that you know what the other volunteers previously taught and how you can continue. However, you have the freedom to create the lessons any way you like. Should you need help though, you can always ask anyone.
What fascinated me was that these students really want to learn.
They are open to anything and they are really ambitious and excited.
Be it a new grammatical topic, a new project or a new song…these kids were happy about everything, they even cheered about every new worksheet they got.:) That really sticks in my mind.
It showed me that the school's goal, the improvement of these kids future, was being fulfilled

Before and after classes you have time to play with the kids, go to the beach or simply enjoy the Balinese life. Since Tianyar is a very small and traditional village, you get to experience their incredibly, fascinating culture and religious life, be it the countless, colorful ceremonies, the Balinese dance lessons, the traditional market or the incredibly delicious Balinese food surrounded by the friendliest people I’ve ever met.

Since my great passion is dancing, I really wanted to share that with the kids. So I decided to teach them Hip Hop after class.
That was really a dream! :))
I’ve never had so much fun in my life before. The kids were thrilled with the Hip-Hop classes, which they deeply appreciated and they always made me laugh. In the beginning everyone was really shy to dance in front of the others but that was exactly the point. My goal was to reinforce their self-confidence in doing something they had never done before and to show them to believe in themselves and never give up. During my 4 months we studied different choreographies and in the end gave a stunning performance in front of the whole school. I can’t describe the amazing feeling to see these children so happy and proud. One of the most impressive moments in my life...

I owe all this to Ketut, the founder of this school. He does a really great job and it was wonderful for me to meet someone, who so loveingly invests all his time in these great children and put his whole heart into the school and the kids.
Whenever someone has problems, they can always count on him. But the whole staff/family that you live with is unique. They do a great job and really made me part of their family. I am very grateful that I can call this family my friends.
My heartfelt thanks goes to Nyoman, the cook, who served amazing and delicious meals every day. I totally fell in love with her food and I am already missing her and the food.

Friday through Sunday you have the possibility to travel and get to know the beautiful island of Bali. Bali is really dreamlike with lots of things to do like sightseeing, partying or diving…
My weekends in Tianyar as well as travelling across the island were never boring but memorable.

All in all my overall impression is, that everyone benefits from this amazing project, the children as well as the volunteers and I greatly recommend this experience to anyone.
l have all these amazing memories and friendships because of this program.
A program, which fights for a better future for many talented kids and needs all the support they can get from us to carry on with their wonderful work. I also decided to sponsor a child of this school because I know that my money really will be supporting this child’s education.

I wish everybody at the Yayasan Widya Sari all the best!
Thank you Ketut, Leony and Nyoman for everything! I miss you already!

But it’s not a goodbye, just see you later! :)

Default avatar
Elena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great chance for you and the Balines kids

I spent 8 weeks volunteering at this program and I will never forget what an amazing time I had there. I taught two classes in English, one with the youngest children at about 8-10 years and one with 14-16 year olds. The kids are really welcoming, curious and motivated to participate in class. We, the volunteers, always helped each other to come up with ideas and hence preparing the lessons was fun too. Our freetime we used to go swimming in the sea, playing, relaxing or often just talking, which is never boring with people from so many different countries. On the weekends we usually discovered Bali together, partied and enjoyed our time.
I also like to point out, how nice, supportive and motivated the local staff was. They showed us their way of live, explained the Balines culture and we were even invited to join traditional ceremonies. The mainly local food, which was prepared for us, was very tasty and our cook was so nice to make small extra dishes for the volunteers with allergies or the vegetarians among us.
Overall I'm so happy I decided to take a break during my studies to volunteer and even more grateful that I found this program in Bali. As a volunteer you have the chance to be really useful here.

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Federica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Making a difference

I spent two weeks volunteering at the Yayasan and I enjoyed every second of it thanks to the team of volunteers and to the local staff.
The Yayasan is a welcoming and stimulating environment for the kids as well as for the volunteers: the kids are enthusiastic about participating in the activities and eager to learn English.
What makes the program so great is the friendly and most of all homely atmosphere of the Yayasan.
Volunteers are hosted at the Yayasan, at the very heart of the village, which means being fully immersed in the Balinese culture from the wake-up call of the cock in the yard to the Balinese ceremonies! Personally, I loved going to the local market and challenge myself with the very few Balinese words I learnt while buying fruits or even a duckling!!
Overall, it’s been a meaningful experience that I would highly recommend.

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Rhiannon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rhiannon Bowry Williams, England.

I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of my stay in Tianyar teaching these beautifully talented and intelligent children, along side amazing volunteers and surrounded by the most caring, welcoming and hilarious staff. Bali as a whole feels this way, inviting and excited for people to immerse themselves in their culture. In my time we went to many local ceremonies, often watching our students perform which, makes you overwhelmingly proud, we also went to a students younger sisters 6 month ceremony which was a fantastic thing to be involved in, things like this give you the feeling you are a part of the Yayasan family. Living only feet away from the family home and all eating meals together makes everything so comfortable and you couldn't feel safer. Teaching is so enjoyable, the children are beyond hilarious and it is so refreshing to see children of such a young age so excited to learn new things! You are free to do as many fun projects and songs and dances as you like which is an amazing way to teach these lovely, lovely children. It is hard to express my crazy amount of love for this place, but volunteering here will definitely be a very happy time of your life.

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Sophia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience of my life!!

I have been fortunate to volunteer at the yayasan for 7 weeks.
The Yayasan is such a great place, safe, welcoming environment for childeren to learn English. For Balinese childeren this is so important because of the impact of Tourism in their future lives.
For me personaly it was the best experience in my life. I felt so much love from all the childeren and families, they truly show their appreciation! Can't wait to go back!

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Gaby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Experience

I spent a total of four months here and they were some of the best months of my life.

The Yayasan Widya Sari is a foundation that offers an after school program where children from the surrounding village can attend in order to learn English. But the school offers much more than just English learning; it is a place where the children can have fun, connect with each other and with people from around the world, and grow in terms of broadening their minds and futures.

I taught two classes, a group of 17-18 year olds and a group of 13-14 year olds. While each class brought its own challenges, the rewards outweighed the challenges. I had a co-teacher to help me, and together we were always able to come up with fun and creative lesson plans. All the volunteers were constantly helping each other out, no matter what class they taught, and the freedom to plan lessons however we wished really allowed us to teach in a way that was effective and comfortable for us. A curriculum is provided, but you are given freedom as to how you wish to teach it.

The most important thing to notice about this program though is that the children really benefit from learning English. Bali relies so heavily on tourism that learning English gives these students a leg up against their peers, especially those who come from such a rural village as this one. It really does affect the students' futures and allows them a chance at a better one.

Time before and after classes consisted of planning lessons, relaxing around the school, wandering around the village or the beach, connecting with the school's staff and the volunteers, and interacting with the children. Because the school is in the middle of the village, you are constantly surrounded by locals, by the children and their families, and it allows you to connect with them on a more personal level. By the time I left, I had grown so close with not only the students I taught, but all the children at the school. The students at the Yayasan are some of the most amazing group of children I've ever met.

This school is unique because you don't go to only teach English; when you teach here, you are immersing yourself completely in the culture. During my time here I was able to attend handfuls of Balinese ceremonies, learn how to Balinese dance, eat traditional Balinese food, shop at the markets, and overall become integrated into the life. The Balinese have such a rich and beautiful culture and I was really exposed to this; that made my experience even more meaningful.

The staff of the school are wonderful people and dedicated to the volunteers in every way. They treat everyone like family and always work together with the volunteers in order to support their ideas. For example, during my time there, the other volunteers and I were able to plan field trips for the students, a huge soccer tournament, our very own Holi Powser Festival, beach cleanups, and other things.

On the three day weekends you have the freedom to travel all over the wonderful island of Bali, which I would suggest doing as well. Bali has plenty of incredible places to visit and spend your time, so you will never be bored if you're willing to travel. I spent an even amount of time traveling and spending time at the school on the weekends and I was never bored.

The accommodations are great for the location of the school: comfortable beds, working showers, enough space for all my things. The meals are a definite highlight of the school; the cook is spectacular.

Overall, my time spent here whizzed by and if I could have stayed longer, I would have. I saw up to 16 volunteers come and go during my time there and everyone I worked with had a great experience.

What would you improve about this program?
The biggest struggle I encountered while at the school was the levels of English comprehension within each class. In my class of 13-14 year olds, I had students who were incredible at English and others who would have benefited more from a simpler class. Sometimes it's difficult to mix the classes because of their ages, and some of the students get stuck in classes that are either too easy for them or too difficult. This made teaching a little more challenging because we have to keep everyone engaged.
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Kathy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The REAL volunteering experience in Bali

I cannot express how much my volunteering time at Yayasan Widya Sari has impacted on me. I have made life long friends, lived within a fascinating culture and the children are nothing short of amazing.

The founder of the program, Ketut, is the real thing!!! He cares greatly for the children and their future and always has time for us volunteers, he and his family are genuine hosts, (Ketut's sister is a great cook).

I feel confident telling anyone who is interested in giving their time to the education of underprivileged children to volunteer with Yayasan Widya Sari as the program is run entirely by Balinese, with NO profits made by any third party. Volunteer's fees go into the employment of local staff, such as the beautiful Leony (Volunteer Co-ordinator) and into the development and sustainability of such a powerful program. Children who before had no access to education now have FREE daily classes.

Volunteering in Bali has been an amazing experience, I have learnt SO much about myself and what I am also able to achieve. The children are so motivated to learn that teaching them was nothing but pure fun.

There is no doubt that I will return to volunteer again with all the beautiful people at Yayasan Widya Sari in Bali, Indonesia.

Thank you and see you soon again.

What would you improve about this program?
More sponsorship of children to continue their studies.
Default avatar
Joanne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing time volunteering a local Balinese non-profit organisation

l had an amazing time volunteering at a local non-profit organisation.
The local staff were very helpful: Ketut, Made, Leonie & Nyoman and their extended families.
The children were so keen to learn which made my English teaching so enjoyable and easy.
l really felt that l was making a real different to the children, but at end l was the one that changed for the better.
We joined in a couple of Balinese village ceremonies, which open my eyes to their special cultural.
Our daily meals prepared where so nice.
l wanted to volunteer directly with the non-profit organisation knowing that 100% of my costs/donations would go directly to the school and local Balinese community.

What would you improve about this program?
The school needs more basic reading books and craft/art supplies. Donations are most welcome at the school.