Hannah Baker, our Project Manager shares her experience of Bali, Indonesia. Her visit to the oldest ceramic factory in Bali, Jenggala; Our partner’s Ketemu Project office and Anika Linden Centre.

Bali is like opening a door into an incredible flower shop

The colours are so bright they seem unreal. Everywhere you look, makes an appealing photograph and the sensory overload takes some adjustment. I couldn’t get enough! I fell into a jet-lagged sleep spontaneously in the taxi on route to a meal at our host’s house on the first evening. Then I just about managed a second wind to enjoy the warm hospitality and delicious spread of food.

market stalls in Ubud Bali, lots of clothes hanging on the left corner

Someone told me that Indonesians will sell anything. They are hugely enterprising, and evidence of this lines every street with stalls ranging from tiny grill stands turning smoking chicken satay at 10am to baskets, kites, clothes and every trinket your heart could desire in small kerb-side emporiums. On our many taxi journeys into different districts, we also saw the extraordinary feature of whole avenues devoted to one type of product.  For example garden statues, housing materials or plants all grouped in one location. A handy way to find what you need on a shopping trip, if a little difficult to make a choice from the seemingly identical array of goods in every shop along these avenues!

Small baskets full of different colours, pink, red, blue full of Balinese Offering
While out shopping, you must tread carefully around the tiny, exquisite offerings left outside shops on a daily basis as part of Hindu culture.

You need to be alert to your new environment. The wildly undulating pavements seems like a small earthquake has occurred every few metres. Road safety is simply non-existent with thousands of mopeds riding past. I nearly inadvertently killed a moped rider, when I assumed our taxi – which had pulled alongside a kerb – was safe to open the door and jump out. This was the wrong assumption as there was in fact at least a 5 centimetre gap to shoot through on a fast-moving moped! Crisis narrowly averted I drew breath and waited for my heartrate to return to normal having learned a valuable lesson.

Jenggala, Ceramic Factory

We visited a large factory, home to Jenggala where they design, make and sell stylish ceramics. The work is very skilled and it’s fascinating to watch the processes of production from prototype to desirable homewares. Here, I delivered my first workshop to Jenggala managers and staff. The workshop is about customer care and the inclusion agenda. We explored ways to:

  • audit the environment
  • take account of a variety of access needs
  • adapt in relatively easy and affordable ways.

The staff embraced the ideas and identified a set of changes they could make straight away.

 

Ketemu Project and Rumah Berdaya

In Bali there are huge challenges around accessibility; there is little or no public transport and people use mopeds, cars and taxis to get around. Pavements are hazardous and even level ground is at a premium. Crucially, one of the barriers faced by disabled people can be negative stigmas rooted in superstition, mis-understanding and family shame about having a family member who is different. Significant mental illness including schizophrenia carries stigma. We heard shocking and upsetting stories of people’s experiences. However, Bali-based organisations including Ketemu are working hard to address this and make positive social change happen.

Ketemu Project was founded by artists Budi Agung Kuswara and Samantha Tio. They have expanded their team and work as a close-knit unit that is intimately connected to their local community. They have built partnerships with a wide range of organisations working in the arts and to support wellbeing and inclusion; things that intrinsically link all of Ketemu’s work.

We visited Ketemu’s studio and office spaces and neighboring initiative Rumah Berdaya. It is a psychosocial rehabilitation centre founded in 2016 with the support of the local government. A team of psychiatrists and members of Komunitas Peduli Skizofrenia Indonesia (KPSI) runs this flagship creative space for people living with schizophrenia. It provides a community-hub for men experiencing this condition where they can be referred by their doctor once they are more stable; this is essentially social prescribing in action. We watched groups of men turning coconuts into saleable products such as filtered oils and others running a moped valet service, creating bags and screen-printing.

Hannah and the carers from Rumah Berdaya standing together, Hannah wearing the totebag

I bought a bag produced by Rumah Berdaya. I also met the artist who made the bag. He was also our guide around the facility. He happily showcased his work and talk openly about his  experiences. We learnt that there’s still a way to go to create opportunities such as these for women who are even more marginalised and may not even reach the point of seeing a doctor to address their condition.

The Annika Linden Centre

Another stunningly sunny day dawned, and we went on a guided tour of The Annika Linden Centre. The space best described by themselves as

‘bridging the gap between outstanding local leaders and the global expertise and support those local leaders need to change the lives of some of Asia’s most marginalised families’.

The centre houses several enterprises including a unit producing custom-made prosthetics, an education and rehabilitation centre for disabled children and an online platform connecting employers with disabled potential employees. The environment here is also a space to influence decision makers and policy making at government level and they regularly host delegations of visitors – inspiring is a very fitting description here.

four ladies standing in the lobby of Annika Linden centre a white room with an interesting hanging lamp

Hannah’s adventure in Bali continues, watch this space for more updates on Bali from Hannah.