Widhya Asih has made my life better and rewarding.

My name is I Ketut Budarma. I was born in a small village called Pancasari, in a northern part of Bali, Indonesia in 1962. I come from a large family, with two brothers and five sisters. My mother passed away when I was 2 years old and my father remarried afterward. I used to live with my grandparents in the forest, quite far from the village centre where the only elementary school was located. My grandfather used to teach me simple math and how to read, with the knowledge he learnt during the Dutch occupation.

In 1974 when I was 13 years old, I started going to the village school. I was lucky to be accepted in the third year when they assessed my academic competency, learnt from my grandparent. Three years was a hard time for me. I had to row my canoe to cross Lake Buyan for at least an hour depending on the weather, then I had to walk for 40 minutes to reach the school. As school started at 7.30am, I had to leave very early in the morning. Sometimes I had to go to the afternoon session with classes finishing at 6.00pm. The lake was quite dark and I arrived home very late, with my grandpa lighting his torch for me. The strong waves were especially dangerous when it was windy.

I graduated from primary school in 1977 but as there was no secondary school in my village, I had to go to other cities. One of my relatives told me that there was a children’s home owned by the Protestant Christian Church in Bali where I could stay and continue my study. I tried my best to find information about the children’s home and after being accepted, I lived there for ten years, from 1977 until 1987. The children’s home was sponsored by a German NGO called Kindernothilfe. During my stay, I visited my family regularly during school breaks. I shared great experiences with them, especially about our friends and lovely carers. Widhya Asih Foundation has helped needy children by creating a hybrid model between residential care and family integration. My parents and relatives were welcome to visit me anytime.

Living in a children’s home was a great opportunity for me. Apart from learning something academic, I also learnt a lot of life skills, from simple things like making a bed, washing dishes and even cooking, things I did not learn from school or my family. Leadership, interpersonal skills, discipline and etiquettes that I learnt in the children’s home, have been a valuable contribution in my professional career.

As soon as I finished my bachelor degree in English literature, I was hired as a lecturer at State Polytechnic of Bali and have been working there for 28 years now. I was educated and trained abroad after my bachelor. I finished my master degree and PhD on Sustainable Tourism in France. I have done research in several countries including Japan, Australia, The Philippines, Canada, America, Thailand, France and Morocco. During my study in France I had the opportunity to visit my sponsor. He previously worked at a post office but has since retired. I feel so fortunate that I could express my gratitude and appreciation to his family. They are so happy and proud of us, since their contribution to Widhya Asih has been fruitful.

I have been sharing with my daughter and son, good lessons that I learned from Widhya Asih. To learn how to live a better life, to build a happy and rewarding life, to be a good citizen and community member have become part of my life. I do hope that Widhya Asih keeps its’ programs to transform children’s lives as they did mine. Widhya Asih have been professionally managed by Christian Protestant Church (GKPB) in Bali, Indonesia. The carer’s have knowledge and skills on how to raise needy children by providing them with useful activities during their stay in the home.

Our family has been committed to help needy children, either living in the residential based care or in their homes. There are still millions of children in Indonesia who need this service to make their dreams come true.