In an unexpected turn for the good, Cire is helping desperate families in northern Bali impacted by the coronavirus (C-19) pandemic, as well as continuing its unrelenting efforts to support local communities across the Yarra Ranges.
A Cire donation has been redirected to help purchase relief packs of essential food and hygiene items for more than 120 Balinese families who no longer have any form of income because tourism and related employment has ceased. Each pack provides supplies for up to three weeks depending on the size of the family.
The relief effort is being driven by Peduli Sesama Philanthropic Work (PSPW), part of the Aura Sukma Insani Foundation in northern Bali, with whom Cire has developed a partnership through PSPW volunteer and former Cire employee, Heather Dryden from Yarra Junction. At Cire’s 2019 Children’s Week events, funds were raised to help PSPW improve basic housing for needy families, however the impact of C-19 has now taken absolute priority.
Cire CEO Gus Seremetis said Cire fully supported PSPW’s use of the money in providing such desperately needed assistance.
“Cire has been working tirelessly to support our local communities in these challenging times and it is rewarding to know our reach has extended even further.”
In an email requesting the redirection of the money, Heather said: “The Balinese are resourceful people with an amazing can-do attitude towards life. They have suffered through the Bali bombings, tsunamis, earthquakes and now the corona pandemic. There is no longer any tourism, so many Balinese are without work or financial assistance and the impact is heartbreaking. Families do not know how they are going to feed their families, god forbid any sickness… not just coronavirus but malaria and dengue fever where the numbers are high already.”
PSPW volunteers have been working around the clock courageously trying to assist families, challenged by limited resources that cannot meet the escalating need, and all the while ensuring social distancing.
“I have to keep myself from breaking into a bumbling mess, the locals are so so grateful to receive the food and hygiene parcels. One lady was too sick to collect her parcel which was collected by a young girl who was so thin I gave her one as well. It is heartbreaking. This is one of the hardest things to be involved with. The people want to hug you in thanks but you have to keep them at a distance. One mother came with her disabled son. She had the most beautiful smile and couldn’t stop thanking us. Another woman returned with bananas from her tree as a thank you.
“I am hoping we can keep supporting families with these food and hygiene packs, it’s with donations like Cire’s that help keeps us going.
“…Masks are hard to come by and grocery prices are starting to increase as they become harder to source. We have plenty of toilet roll though!
“People are struggling to pay for electricity or to fill their gas cylinders, I think more will use an open fire to cook”.
Heather has been working for PWP for just over 12 months. It has been a huge learning curve with many challenges but even greater rewards. Some goals have been reached, others are still works in progress.
“Achieving our goals is very reliant on sponsorship and this is going to be harder than ever in the future because of the far-reaching global impact of C-19.”
Heather has been more involved this year in the delivery of a tourism and hospitality course to give young people a career pathway and provide the tourism industry with well-trained staff. The course is on hold at present given the pandemic.
“I have found many new friendships, being welcomed into families, and feeling truly blessed, able to live here and be accepted as a local one who cares,’ Heather said.
“Cire is one of the reasons I’m here …It opened my world to possibilities that I had never dreamed of and I will forever be grateful to the team I worked with.”
Heather said approximately A$20 would help feed a family for a month. For those wanting to make a donation, please email Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org