DARMAJI - The Ganesha Foundation's First Village Project

The Ganesha Foundation is currently funding an integrated educational program in the hamlet of Darmaji.  Darmaji is located on the steep slopes between Mount Agung and Mount Abang in East Bali.  This region is the most impoverished area in Bali.  Because of the steepness of the slopes and the poor quality of the volcanic soil, villagers must rely on only corn and casaba as a staple of their diet. East Bali is a very dry region most of the year and water supplies are scarce.  Many villagers walk two to three hours to reach a water source in the dry season. Infant mortality in 1999 was 25% because of poor hygiene and a lack of safe drinking water. Now because of safe water projects and increased awareness of hygiene, that number has been reduced to almost zero. The dry season is very difficult, but in the wet monsoon season hamlets are completely cut off from the outside world because of torrential rains.  Illiteracy rates in the region are 75-100% because of lack of accessible government schools.

In 1999 the East Bali Poverty Project was founded to help people in this region to help themselves.  After extensive interviews with local people, over a six-month period, David Booth, learned that what the villagers requested most was an education for their children.  With the help of local Balinese, David designed a system of integrated education, which not only teaches children literacy, but also organic farming techniques, health and hygiene, and more effective land use. This allows communities to raise vegetables previously unavailable in their diet.  Each child in the program receives daily vitamins and a well-balanced meal consisting of rice, vegetables, soy and fish or meat, prepared by a local member of the education team. For more information about these and other programs, please visit the East Bali Poverty Project website at: www.eastbalipovertyproject.org

The first pilot program was established in 2000 in the hamlet of Dusun Bunga with forty-eight families. Because of the success of this original program, additional programs in four more hamlets have been established.  In June of 2007, with funding from the Ganesha Foundation, a new program was started in the hamlet of Darmaji.  Fifty children were enrolled in the initial class.  There are almost an equal number of boys and girls ranging in ages from six to fourteen.  The families in this village were so exited about the program that in just two weeks, they prepared the village “bali banjar” for classes, and also widened the last remaining mile of a single track path to allow a four wheel drive vehicle access to the hamlet; the first vehicle ever to enter the village!

The Ganesha Foundation has committed to funding this program in Darmji for an initial period of three years.  At the end of three years we will review progress to determine continued funding.  We obtain quarterly reports from the East Bali Poverty Project. The Executive Director of the Ganesha Foundation transfers funds on an annual basis after personally visiting Darmji and reviewing progress. 

CEGI - A Village Transformed

In 2000 the hamlet of Dusun Cegi looked much like Darmji; undernourished children, illiteracy and little hope for the future.  Seven years later Cegi is a much different place.  The children are healthy, clean, happy, and smiling.  A permanent school has been built and organic vegetable plots cover the hillside. The educational program has been so successful that the students were able to complete the required government achievement test in three years rather than the six years it normally takes in government schools. This success is due to a system of interactive education or “learning by doing”.

A system of safe drinking water and improved water storage has decreased disease dramatically.  Daily vitamins, regular health check-ups and a  balanced diet have given children and adults better overall health. 

Children are now teaching their parents the lessons that they have learned in school about health, hygiene and organic farming.  The people of Cegi now have a true future.