To tell you a little about my volunteership.
At Sjaki-tari-us I am getting to know everybody better and it’s especially really fun to get to know the children and teenagers better. I’ve been asked to help out with a new project for the teenagers, were they are learning more about personal hygiene. They will learn to dress properly and clean, wash hands and face, brush teeth and knowing when they are presentable and why this is important. Some of them are going to work in the Warung of the foundation, helping in the kitchen or serving guests. They will learn why it’s important to be clean and look nice in a job like that or other jobs they may be able to do. Further I will be talking to tourists and other people who are coming by the foundation to look or eat in the Warung, to give them information and make people interested in the foundation. I am also looking in the first aid kit there and I will try to make it better and maybe prepare a sort of workshop so they are more prepared if something happens with the children or somebody else. I’m now going to Ubud Monday-Wednesday to guide and help with the personal hygiene project. For the rest help were it’s needed.
Sjaki-Tari-Us is a foundation started in 2006. The purpose is to support, counsel and accompany children with a mental disability in their development and participation to society. Right now there are around 27 children divided in 4 different classes, each coming 2 or 3 times a week from 9.00 to 12.00. The children are aged from 5 to 10 years old. In the afternoon from Monday to Thursday the teenagers are coming and have classes and activities. There are now 8 teenagers at Sjaki, age 14 - 24. Furthermore there is a Warung were tourists and people coming by can have a drink or lunch/dinner. And there is a shop with different items witch mostly are made by the teenagers, the goal is that all the things sold in the shop is made/partly made by them.
All volunteers are having guiding and coaching positions, all the direct work with the children and teenagers is done by the Balinese guru’s (teachers) and their assistants. In the Warung also just Balinese people are working. The goal is also that Sjaki-Tari-Us in a couple of years is functioning independently on a Balinese team without the help from volunteers. For more info see http://www.sjakitarius.nl/
The children and teenagers are coming from all kinds of families and they have different levels of mental disabilities. Some have Down syndrome or autism but others have no clear diagnose and are just late in their development, have no language or have concentration problems. It’s such a different system here then back home and in other developed countries. First of all it is a shame to get a disabled child and a family is not offered any kind of help. There are schools for children with problems, but there they have to pass a test and still be above a certain IQ level, so these children have no offers at all. Many of them have also been neglected by their parents and family, just put in a room and not having any kind of stimulation and in isolation from the outside world. One girl in the teenage group had her first meeting with the world outside when she came to Sjaki… that's pretty heavy to see. When I started there was also a new 18 year old boy starting for the first time, he came with his parents. He is autistic and he will do very well in the group and it will be very good for him. He’s father was so touched and moved by the way his son was treated and approached by us. He wasn't used to this at all and clearly relieved to have found the Sjaki. He showed his arms, full of bite and scratch marks, from his son’s behaviour for many years. Now he doesn't do it anymore. We asked him why he thinks it doesn't happen anymore, he answered that for 15 years he struggled and didn't accept the situation and the disability of his son. Then he changed one day and started to accept him as he is and try to give him love, and now he’s not biting anymore… How beautiful is that??? If all the parent could learn this. Even though his family, his other son and all people around them still are afraid of his son and wont accept him, he and his wife finally are. A sunshine story to be inspired of. We hope he can be a recourse in the parent committee later and help or inspire other parents.