As visitors to Bali, we need to respect not only the culture and people, but the island itself!
Millions of tourists set foot on the island every year, unintentionally leaving their print and impact.
Plastic usage and carbon emissions, unethical tourism and deforestation, there are so many ways the excessive amount of tourism to Bali can impact the environment and well-being of the island.
Now, we aren’t trying to tell you not to visit Bali. However, while you are here, do a little bit to help out and do some volunteering in Bali.
Here are all the ways you can do your part to help Bali – check it out!
How to Help Bali
There are many issues threatening the tourist heaven of Bali. Caused by fast development to accommodate the influx of tourism, and traditional practices that no longer suit modern life, it isn’t all just about the environment. Here are a few of the things that are affecting Bali:
- Plastic Waste: There have been a few efforts over the past few years to reduce the use of plastic in Bali. The majority of large branded stores no longer offer plastic bags, and the smaller mini-marts and warungs have followed suit. However, markets and independent businesses will occasionally still provide a plastic bag for purchases. Plastic is heavily used for food packaging, drinks and even trash bags. It’s hard to avoid when staying on the island. You’ll find plastic clogging river ways, rotting on the roadside and dotted through the rice paddies.
- Street Animals: One of the hardest sights to see in Bali are the street animals struggling on the side of the road. You will often come across animals – most often dogs – who are homeless and living off scraps on the roadside. Looking sickly and unhealthy, it an be a sobering view on a lavish, tropical island holiday.
- Social Issues: You’ll find social issues all over the world. In Bali, the biggest issues are poverty, homelessness, drug abuse and environmental degradation. With a lack of healthcare, limited education opportunities and problems with employment, the people of Bali struggle to get by in the hidden villages and rural landscapes. Away from the luxury life of the expats and tourists, it’s easy to forget that there are people struggling on the island.
- Pollution: Volunteer activities in Bali like beach clean ups, tree planting and educational campaigns are doing their best to counteract the issue of pollution on the island. Whether it be trash along the shoreline, burning waste on the roads or polluting rivers, there are many ways in which the island’s nature is being affected by human activities.
- Unsustainable Tourism: It’s no secret that as Bali becomes a more thriving, wanderlust location, the island begins to suffer. Natural landscapes are destroyed to make way for more resorts and tourist facilities, eco- and waste management are forgotten about in the rush to complete projects, and the destruction of wildlife habitats leave animals without a place to go.
- Climate Change: Climate change issues are not exclusive to Bali, all over the world the affects of the problem are being felt. Temperatures are rising and sea levels are increasing, causing issues like flooding and extreme weather changes.
- Deforestation: Deforestation is a serious problem that is damaging the island’s ecosystem. Trees are being cut down to make way for large projects, and the effects of this on the local environment and wildlife are devastating. The soil is becoming depleted, water sources are drying up, and air pollution is rising.
Visa for Volunteering in Bali
There is no official volunteer visa for helping out in Bali. So long as you don’t receive any kind of compensation in return – money, accommodation or food – you will be able to volunteer on a regular visa.
If you sign up with a specific organisation, you can always ask for advice on what other volunteers do regarding their visas.
Volunteering Opportunities in Bali
Once you have settled on an idea of how you would like to volunteer in Bali, there are many amazing organisations that are begging for help.
All equally as essential and worthy, these are some of the best ways to help out in Bali.
Helping the local community is a great way to volunteer in Bali, and a way to see your positive impact on the island right away.
Yayasan Bumi Sehat is an organisation working closely with women, babies and families to provide health care and support they may not be able to find otherwise.
Providing everything from basic health care to emotional support and educational activities, the organisation does their part to help the parts of the community that are often forgotten about.
As well as providing hands-on assistance within the community, you can also volunteer with administrative tasks that keep the project running.
Yayasan Bumi Sehat is a non-profit that works off donations and volunteers to provide their services to those in need.
Bali WISE (Women’s International Solidarity in Education)
Bali WISE is an organisation that works tirelessly with the women and girls on the island to ensure they are given a safe and supportive environment to grow and learn. They promote education, economic development and gender equity in the local villages, connecting with locals to teach any kind of life or business skills they may need.
As a volunteer with Bali WISE, you will spend a lot of time with locals, helping to develop their skills and teach them something new. You will immerse in their lives, and see just how positively impacted they are by the opportunity to learn skills that they didn’t have access to previously.
Volunteering in Bali with Bali WISE is sure to leave you feel fulfilled and grateful. You’ll create many lifelong connections, and gain amazing work experience as well as life experience.
Yayasan Salemen Indonesia is another organisation in Bali working with the struggling communities to teach skills, provide assistance and offer help in any way that is needed.
From teaching literacy and numeracy, to building shelters and homes, the yayasan works closely with the local community to find out what they need and provide the most helpful care possible.
Volunteering with this kind of project in Bali will not only have a positive effect on the lives you help, but also on you personally. You can step out of your comfort zone and interact with people you wouldn’t normally cross paths with. By assisting hands on or getting involved with the admin of the project, any contribution is welcomed and appreciated.
Balinese children are a pride and joy of the island, and are always seen as a gift – no matter the circumstances they are born into.
Many of the less fortunate children in Bali go through their early years without any formal education or integration into society.
The Bali Children’s Project works closely with these kinds of kids to help teach them what they need to know to get by in the world. Be it education, health and hygiene or social services, the team do everything they can to assist in creating a safe environment for the children to grow and learn.
Being involved in this kind of project is incredibly rewarding and special as you make connections with the children, teach them life skills and see them develop through their new knowledge.
Bali has a HUGE problem with street dogs, and struggling wildlife. It is a growing pandemic, and a cause close to our hearts at Balipedia.
BAWA is just one of the organisations leading the way, and shining a light on the never ending issue. Providing street feedings, medical care and emergency rescues, they are doing their best to try to reduce the island-wide problem.
By volunteering with BAWA, you can be out on the streets working hands-on with the animals, helping out with fundraising or raising awareness of their compaign.
It isn’t just dogs, BAWA also help out with cats, monkey, lizards and just about any kind of animal that is in distress.
With rescue teams 24/7, they are often over run and in need of some major donations and help.
If you aren’t planning on volunteering in Bali yourself, you can always contribute to the efforts monetarily from abroad.
Bali gives SO MUCH to SO MANY visitors year in, year out. Taking a moment in your trip to give back to the island will have a huge impact, and leave you with so good ass karma.
Whether you choose to just donate, offer your time or your expertise, you don’t need to spend months on end volunteering in Bali.
Do your part and add a little charity work to your holiday, leaving the island a better place than when you arrived.
Featured image: Bali Pet Crusaders