We like to begin this weekly blog with very good new! Our sales person, Made Karnawa, just turned father for the second time and he got a little boy. Congratulations!

This week Pika did an outstanding job in her swimming class. She managed to swim the entire length of the swimming pool all on her own. I think she surprised her self that day. But it didn’t stop there, because I also asked her if she also wanted to swim back the entire length. The first time she didn’t want to do this so she swam back with help of floating material, but the second time she gained more confidence in her own abilities and she did it!

The English lessons were unfortunately cancelled this week because our new English teacher Monique was sick. We hope that she gets better soon.

The surfing lessons of the street children were also cancelled this week, because the children had ceremonies in their home villages. There are a lot of ceremonies this week because Nyepi (Silent day), an important day for the Balinese community, is on Monday 31th of March.

This is also why the surfing lessons of Sunya Giri is cancelled, because on Sunday is pengerupukan. The day where the Balinese community tries to scare the demons away form the Island, through making monsters and lots of noice. Then the next day, Nyepi, Everyone is silent and is not allowed leave their homes. This is because if it seems as if no one lives on the Island the new demons will not come here and go to another place.

A week Dominated by THE Surf Competition.

This week we would like to start with news about Pika. We tell you every week a story about her improvement, now we can tell you she made a big step, again! If you have seen our Facebook Page you would have seen the video we uploaded; Pika swimming all by herself without any help of floating material or one of us holding her so she would stay with her head above the water. Wednesday, as the video gives you the proof, she did it! In seventeen strokes she made it to the other side of the swimming pool and with a bigger smile on her face, as we saw her having before, she could not believe it herself when we told her no one was helping her under the water. She did not stop laughing for the whole day and we were so happy we could tell all the staff from YKPA orphanage what she did! Pika, we are so proud of you! Again!

Thursday, we had a lot of fun again with the streetkids during the English Lesson. We had bought a lot of paper, for everyone a big white one and some of them in different colours. At the orphanage we got many pencils in all kind of colours, pairs of scissors and glue. The assignment was as followed; move your tables and chairs on the side of the classroom and paint, draw, paste, colour, make what ever you would like to make on your own white huge paper. As long you know what it is and you know how to write in it English. They began quietly, but after a few minutes the whole ground was covered by all the equipment. Coloured paper, pencils, glue and the pairs of scissors. English names appeared on the side next to the figures that the kids drew. They had fun, loved the craftwork and learned at the same time.  And the most important thing, they got some confidence in themselves. Their imagination found its freedom and they could draw beautiful landscapes.

After telling you these moments of happiness, but this weeks highlight was the surf competition. After a lot of work and patience, the day had come. Sunday morning, the sun was shining, a blue sky appeared and the perfect waves were waiting. The kids from the talent group and the basic program of Soul surf project Bali arrived at Rip Curl School of Surf and after a short introduction and explanation it was time. With the surfboards to the beach, they were ready to start.

We can’t tell you, using enough detailed words, what a great surfers they are. With a lot of joy we spent the morning surfing and the judges were giving the points. In the new album on our Facebook page called ‘Surf Competition – 2nd March 2014,’ you will find the pictures of the day! All we want to end this blog with is, of course, the winners. The best of the whole competition is… Arjun! The boy who conquered the best waves and got the highest points! Then we have the best 3 participants on our list. The best of the boys; 1; Arjun and Deni. 2; Merta. The best of the girls: 1; Ria. 2; Veronika. 3; Jerjanti All of you, congratulations! You all did an amazing job and we are proud of you!

The end and the beginning.

Today we end this week with the Sunday. It was a day full of work, but without any surfing lessons. The kids from Widhya Asih Orphanage are busy preparing for their exams that will start soon. We want to wish them lots of luck but we are sure they can make it!

Yesterday was a special day, the Saturday with our second part of the excursion to Role Foundation. Another group of kids joined us to see and learn everything about the environment. With a lot of laughing and interesting faces we came back in the evening with a passport of the park in our pocket. We have again learned a lot and took many pictures. Do you want to see Prema drinking a medicine drink? See our Facebook Page!

We had an eventful day at swimming lessons this week and I am so eager to share them with you all. Pika swum again all by herself! Her disability does not stop her from doing anything. When we arrived at YKPA Orphanage, Pika was already waiting for us. But before we could go she had a present to give. A bracelet she made. Two weeks ago, we gave her a book because she did 50 laps. The book called ‘100 Things To Be Creative’ and one of those hundred things was making a bracelet. And she did! It wasn’t just a bracelet. It had all different kind of colours, figures and it was beautiful. Thank you Pika! She decided that she would teach us how to do it. So, we will have teacher Pika from next week on to give us a course making bracelets. We have to say, we can’t wait! ;)

The Fridays surf lessons with the Denpasar Streetkids were a few crazy but fun hours. The kids came in and were running around to get everything they needed. We knew this would happen so we had prepared everything. All the lycras size by size, shorts done. We could start the lesson. They all changed and took a helmed from the rack. Most of them took one that was to big for their little heads because the bigger ones have to colour blue and of course, that is their favourite. Unfortunately, we had to change them to the smaller grey ones for safety. But when they had the surfboard in their hands they forgot the grey helmets and ran like every week as quick as possible to the sea.

Speaking about surfing, we would like to tell you that our surf talent is all healthy and back on his surfboard. After the accident, Prema needed some rest but this week he could go back into the sea and he conquered the waves while Josine, his personal surfing help, was taking pictures. See Facebook!

Like every ending of a week, we look forward to start the beginning of a new one. With busy days in front of us to prepare the surf competition for next week Sunday, we can’t wait to tell you how it went. I hope you will have the same and we see you then.

Many thanks and have a good week-end and a better beginning of a new week!

The week with the Field Trip

Wednesday we had an amazing swimming day. With four kids waiting for us at Widhya Asih Orphanage, we went to the Bali Kids for a lesson. Enthusiastic as they were, with a smile on their faces and a lot of energy they jumped into the water followed by Josine as a teacher and Alex who is our driver as well.

The time was flying by, the kids were practicing streamlined floating and kicking. We were ending the swimming class with a fun game and a bom in the water.

As you might know our planning, you would know that Pika, our swimming talent with one leg, is part of the Wednesday program as well. We brought the kids back to Widhya Asih and drove to YKPA to pick up Pika. We are so glad to tell you that she was swimming without any floating supporting material! She did it all by herself! We are even more proud of her then we already were. She is improving herself every week. She got the willpower! You want proof? See our Facebook page for pictures! What a girl!

The rest of the week was all about the surfing lessons and an English lesson with the theme ‘clothes’.  The streetkids came to us to have another hour of English class. They had fun and did not even wanted to stop after the group photo, which means normally the end of the lesson. They ran back to their table to finish their painting with stickers of clothes. When their lunch came we stopped, got some beautiful paintings as a present and we are already looking forward to the next Thursday’s English class.

Unfortunately, surfing has proved that it can be a dangerous sport, just as any other sport, so accidents may occur. This week, Prema had bad luck. While he conquered the big waves, his own board hit him when he fell in the water.

An accident can happen to every one but we are happy to say that he is oké now and started working again! He is our strong surf talent!

Of course, we want to end this week’s blog with some positive news! And so Saturday was a great day! The experience we had this week was the Field Trip to ROLE Foundation.

ROLE Foundation: “A non-profit humanitarian organization whose aim is to improve the education, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in underprivileged circumstances whilst ensuring environmental resilience and sustainability.”

A group of kids from Widhya Asih, who have almost ended their program with Soul surf project Bali, had the chance to come with us and learn everything about what ROLE Foundation is doing.

It was an educational morning with interesting faces of the kids who were listening to the guide. Thank you ROLE Foundation for the tour! Check our Facebook page for pictures of the excursion!

Thank you for reading, your interest in Soul surf project Bali and we see you soon!


A week full of surprises!

Again it was a week full of surprises. As our normal week always starts on Wednesday with an intensive swimming lesson, this week it was only Pika who went with us to the Bali Kids swimming pool. The kids from Widya Asih had their well-deserved holiday.

With a car we drove to YKPA Orphanage to pick up Pika and went to the place were it all would happen. Last week she did 40 laps. This was a great achievement, but she wants to improve every week so we had a challenge for this weeks Wednesday. If she would do 50 laps she will get a present. When we told her last week, you could see her eyes started to shine and we could see her thinking; Watch me, I can do that.

And yes! She did. Wednesday at 13:00 she went into the water, she was swimming and didn’t stop until she made it to the last lap, 50! The whole audience clapped and a big smile appeared on her face. We were so proud of her!

After she changed her clothes, we gave her the present as promised. When we though her smile couldn’t get bigger, she proved us wrong. Her eyes were focussed on the book we just gave her with the Title ‘100 Things To Be Creative’ and she looked so happy. She opened it and surprised she flipped trough the book.

Pika:          ‘Thank you’, she said. ‘Thank you.‘

We:            ‘You are very welcome Pika, you are amazing.’

Thursday, unfortunately there were no surfing lessons but that does not mean we have not done anything with the kids. If we say Thursday, we say English lesson. And that is what we did. We went to YKPA where the street kids were already sitting on their chairs. Waiting for the lesson to begin. At the moment we stepped into the outdoor classroom the kids started to get excited and looked at us with big eyes, waiting for us to tell them what we will do today. That moment we knew this would be a good day. The theme on the day was numbers and we played a game Bingo. The kids enjoyed, learned, wrote, crossed numbers on their paper and the winner screamed Bingo! An hour full of fun during an educational English lesson. At the end it was time for a groups picture with their arms up high in the air.

Friday, it was only one day after the English lesson with the street kids but we saw most of them again for the Friday’s surfing lesson. The street kids from Denpasar exchanged their own T-shirts for a Soul surf project Bali lycra, took a surfboard and ran to the beach followed by the surfing teacher, Prema, a photographer and volunteers. After the warming-up they were aloud to go into the water. You saw their faces chancing at the moment they got the permission. Yes, we can!

They took the board and started surfing. And it was amazing to witness their lesson. They all surprised the new volunteers how good they were and what a talent they have in their passionate surf bodies. After the lesson they got a present. (See the group photo above the blog). It was a day full of happiness, surfing and smiley faces. As well the kids and us, we all felt fulfilled.

It was Saturday when we had a meeting and made a list of new things we would like to improve. One of the things is the training of Prema. Prema is one of the boys who is doing the Working Learning Program with us. He works in our Eco-Shop and is learning to become a surf teacher at RipCurl school of Surf. From now on he will have surf practice with feedback and support and we will give him a private English lesson.

Saturday is also the day for the Basic Surf Group, the kids from Widya Asih. They were practicing turns, wave after wave. And as all the other weeks, they did a fantastic job. We took a lot of pictures that we showed on our Facebook page. After the lesson we spoke with the kids about what they would like to do when they are grown up. And they had some lovely answers from being a sing-and songwriter to guiding tours for tourist on Bali.

Sunday will be already our last day to describe this week. But that wouldn’t be less then the others. Just as Saturday we had the Basic Surf Group with the Widya Asih kids, we also started our day with them. A group of four kids were present for the lesson. And as we have seen all the kids this week had a smile on their face. This amazing group of kids conquered the waves, which was amazing to witness like we did whole week with all of them.

With a new list of things we would like to improve and a full diary, we are looking forward to next week and do it all over again with the same kids and newcomers. Thank you for reading and we see you next week on the blog of Soul surf project Bali.

Interview with Dani

Being physically challenged doesn’t mean the end of her dream. Kadek Warjani or we know her as Dani proves us once again, if you work hard you’ll get the prize. She is now officially working for Rip Curl as a photographer through soul surf project Bali’s “Working and Learning Program”. She is quite a success story. Here is an interview with her done by Adrian about her view in life and her dreams about her future.

Adrian : Tell me a little bit of the story about how you joined sspB?

Dani : Well..I joined here around the first weeks of September 2013. I was offered a position for photographer intern to take pictures of the children who are joining sspB surf program. And I thought why not, I like photography and don’t mind at all taking photographs.

Adrian : What made you interested in joining sspB?

Dani : I was really into photography, and I still am. So I thought taking the given opportunity is a good stepping stone for me.

Adrian : And what did you do when working there?

Dani : Mostly making documentation for all the programs and events of sspB.

Adrian : How long did you work at sspB before Rip Curl offered you a photographer trainee position?

Dani : I think it was 3 or 4 months before Rip Curl was interested in taking me in as a trainee. I gained some more photography skills after joining sspB. So I work 2 days for sspB and 2 days for Rip Curl. 4 days a week.

Adrian : What skills and knowledge did you get working for sspB and Rip Curl as intern?

Dani : It’s been great, for sspB I learned the basic photography skills, I learned how to appreciate and respect my surrounding and environment, I learned what can we do to save it, I also learned about surfing. And from Rip Curl I got more advanced knowledge in photography.

Adrian : Congratulation about your employment status at Rip Curl now, how did the offer take place?

Dani : I’ve been working there for about two months before they offered me to become a photographer staff. I think how the other Rip Curl staff treat me, allowed me to improve fast and well. And when they think I have what it takes to step up a ladder from intern position, they offered me right away.

Adrian : How do the Rip Curl staff and your supervisor treat you?

Dani : More than accommodative. They always let me know more things about photography and never let my physical condition to be a negative factor. They teach me how to use camera properly and all technical things that I need to know. I’m really grateful sspB hooked me up with Rip Curl actually. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have this great opportunity right now.

Adrian : Has it been tough for you having condition that you have?

Dani : It has been tough, people never really take me seriously and kind of taking me for granted because of what I have. That’s why I work hard to prove those people that I can pursue my dream no matter what.

Adrian : What is your plan for the future?

Dani : I wanna get more skills in photography, I am actually looking forward to be able to do underwater photography. I love the ocean and I think it would be great for me and for others as well if it became true. A girl with my condition but is able to do underwater photography. Oh, and I also want to open my own photo studio and a gallery where my photographic work can be displayed. It’s been a great opportunity for me now working here. So I’ll just use this time to get better in photography and be grateful about all this. Thank you soul surf project Bali and thank you Rip Curl once again for giving me this opportunity.

Adrian : No problem. I’m sure many people would want to see you succeed in your life and prove the world that your physical condition is not a problem at all.

Dani : Yes, thank you. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.

This Week Update!

First thing first, we’re glad to welcome new volunteer, Josine from Holland to join us for the next 10 weeks.

As usual our weeks start on Wednesday with swimming lesson, and this week is no exception. We had swimming lessons with 4 children from Widhya Asih orphanage and Pika form YKPA. Luckily, they’re having a day off of school, meaning they could relax and got to enjoy themselves a bit more.  The lesson went really well. Josine joined us for her first time and bonded surprisingly quite well with the children.  Pika, on the other hand was excited for swimming lesson as she’s getting more and more in shape. You guys know how many laps she did this Wednesday? 40 laps! Isn’t that just amazing?! We promised her a present if she could swim 50 laps next Wednesday. And the Widhya Asih kids are also improving their swimming skills. Kudos for them!

Thursday was a bit disappointing for both the kids and us because no one could join Talent Class. Luckily, we had English Class with street kids from YKPA (yeay for that!). Merel and Josine were really good at teaching, although it was a bit confusing for Josine, since it was her first time teaching language. The kids were more welcoming than the usual, we think they’re excited for having two teachers at the same time. After all, the more the merrier, right? (See pictures on our facebook page!)

Came Friday, we organized street kids surfing lesson and beach cleanup. There were 7 kids coming. Although it wasn’t their first time surfing, Nyoman Adi, Tintin, Doni and Jim the instructors from Rip Curl (Thanks guys!), refreshed their memories on surfing theories. Then afterwards, they cleaned the beach up, and they cleaned up well. As you probably know, the beach gets dirty this time of year. Cleaning up done, it’s time to hit the waves. Although these kids are still young, they didn’t seem to get tired easily. They kept on going and surfing the waves. Carefree and happy.

Saturday is Basic program for Group 3 of Widhya Asih Orphanage. We were joined by Stefan, Devi and Vero. We had Tintin as instructor and he explained them how to get good waves and improve their paddling in order to catch those waves. The class went exactly as we expected, and the kids went back with the biggest grin on their faces.

Sunday (which is today), we had surf lesson at 8 in the morning. Anjas, Yunus, Misel and Deni joined us. Having to get up really early didn’t stop their excitement for surfing. We think nothing stops their excitement for surfing. We had Tintin again as instructor, and he said the waves weren’t too good to surf. But hey, it’s Sunday and there were boards and there were waves, so just jump in! They had 15 minutes brief from Tintin. And they caught some good waves. They finished at 10 and went home feeling great.

P.S : on Friday, Dani is officially working for Rip Curl as a photographer through our work and learn program. Congrats for her. It is quite a success story.