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02 Dec

December is a busy and festive month in Bali as many tourists spend their end-of-year holidays here and join the resident expatiates in a merry period of cheer and exotic fun, sipping a cool drink with toes wiggling in the sand, wearing a Santa hat to ward off the rays of the sun or dancing the old year away under swaying palm trees.

Christmas carols float around in shopping malls, restaurants and hotel lobbies. New Year trumpets and slingers are sold on the street and spruce up the usual decorations everywhere. It’s a world of celebration and goodwill, a chance to renew our hearts with peaceful intentions and goodwill towards everyone.

The tourist areas of Bali are in full decorative mode enticing visitors to celebrate and partake in all the joys the festive season is bringing. Yummy food and delectable drinks are high on the menu and Bali, being the mecca of great restaurants and eateries, lures visitors with mouth-watering selections featuring traditional and not so traditional holiday favourites.

While you are tucking into that luscious duck, succulent turkey or glistening ham, spare a thought for the less fortunate on this island of plenty. Few tourists are aware that Bali has a staggering poverty rate and malnutrition is rampant in some of the more remote communities. And in those communities it is the children who suffer most. Poor nutrition and inadequate vitamin, protein and micro nutrient intake in children result in poor brain development, weak muscle growth and impaired coordination. This affects a child’s mental, physical, emotional and social health and is the leading cause of degenerative disease in adulthood. A malnourished child with delayed development is at greater risk of illness and disease throughout its lifetime. Many poor families are unable to afford even the most basic food necessities and are severely malnourished.

Yayasan Solemen, one of the best known and transparent charities in Bali, has made it their mission to care for the least fortunate people on this island. Solemen’s great Outreach program touches many people in remote communities whose lives are tainted by the misery of untreated diseases, disability, extreme poverty, malnourishment and destitution.

Sometimes it does not take a great deal of money to alleviate some of the more searing problems like malnutrition and Solemen’s monthly distribution of food parcels to poor families brings great succour and grateful smiles to the children. These basic food parcels include all local products and consist of a sack of rice, sugar, Bali coffee, cooking oil, tray eggs, tahu or tempe, chicken, milk, fruit and vegetables. They cost Rp700k (approximately AUD$68), the equivalent of a modest Christmas or Chanukah present.

Donating a basic food parcel to a needy family would be an utmost gift of kindness and a great way for them to share in the festive bounty. Donating a monthly food parcel would certainly spread that goodwill cheer throughout the new year. To contribute your gift and learn more about the good work done by the Solemen, visit https://www.solemen.org/donate/

– Nobody should endure hunger –