It is a pleasure to meet you again, if only by letter, so we can tell you about what has happened lately at the SOS Children’s Village Bali.
And much has happened indeed! The SOS Village often receives invitations to participate in various celebrations and projects. As this is Bali, it is not astonishing that the focus is on arts. Like last May, when painters, private organizations, and individuals joined efforts in arranging a painting exposition at SOS Bali. This event named 'The Voice of Tabanan' – brought together paintings of established painters and those of promising talents, among them some of our present children (like award-winner Ayu Pradnya who was the runner-up at the National creativity contest among kindergarten kids in 2006; you can admire a specimen of her pictures below) and the independent SOS child I.N.G. Ketut Karyawan, a professional painter. Pictures from him and some others were put up for auction, as one of the highlights of the day. Representatives of government offices, prominent local figures, and friends came to the opening ceremony, where 35 children performed a wonderful dance especially created for the occasion; it combined typical movements of traditional dances from all over Indonesia and even from foreign countries. Moreover, the children’s yoga group had a chance to demonstrate their proficiency on stage (they also did so on several other occasions). The girls of the SOS Youth Community sold little cakes they had made themselves. In short, practically all the inhabitants of our Village above six were involved in one way or another. The exhibition was a success and it is planned to make it a tradition.
Another invitation offered 21 girls and boys the opportunity of travelling to our capital – and what’s more, by plane! – in order to prove their talents in music and dancing. Such as their friends from SOS Jakarta, Lembang, and Yogyakarta, our Balinese children appeared on stage at a big gathering arranged by our friends and sponsors of Wadah at Le Méridien Hotel, Jakarta. Usually, our dancers move to music from an audio cassette or a CD, but this time, they danced to the sounds of a traditional gamelan orchestra played by their SOS siblings, mainly girls. The presentation was cheered by the international audience – and the kids deserved it, too! Furthermore, a bazaar was set up in the hotel lobby, exhibiting and selling handicrafts, food items, and beverages produced partly by Village children, partly by women assisted by the SOS Family Strengthening Programme.
Dancing being an honoured tradition in the Tabanan regency, which takes pride in its famous dancers and choreographers of the past, the regency organized a Modern Dance Competition. A group of eight SOS-girls and boys won the contest, thanks to the young man who usually creates dances for us and motivates the children during rehearsals, to do their best. Then, due to SOS Bali’s reputation for dancing, 20 children were invited to present a succession of dances at the regency’s official National Day reception; they also read a poem and sang two patriotic songs. Their appearance was impressive and touched the audience – and made us proud of them.
For a pleasant week during the vacations, SOS Bali hosted guests from the Religious Youth Service (RYS, a project of the Universal Peace Federation), with participants from Austria, England, Indonesia, Malaysia, and France. They were staying at a hotel but carried out all their activities together with our young people above 15 years, both from the SOS Village, its Youth Communities, and its Family Strengthening Program. Under the slogan, Creating World Peace for Next Generations, they accomplished useful and exciting projects together and became friends.
Since the children had their first workshop on writing skills in 2006, they have been exercising writing, but particularly much this year. They like to express their feelings in poems and are guided to make short stories about ordinary daily experiences. Then they type their creations out on the computer and use them when composing wall journals. (The Christmas photo for our Village sponsors shows a group working together to get their wall journal finished.)
Dear Friends, the boy and the girl in Ayu Pradnya’s picture wave good-bye to you on behalf of our children in Bali!
We all join them with many thanks and Season’s Greetings.
SOS DESA TARUNA INDONESIA
Gregor H. Nitihardjo