I began working for Amicorp in 2014. As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), they hired me on as Manager of their Bali Projects. They had been working in Desa Les with Charles Jacobs for several years, assisting with a road to the Yeh Mampeh waterfall, educational scholarships, a gamelan orchestra, computer classes and much more. In 2013, the director of Amicorp, Toine Knipping, wanted to do something more sustainable in Desa Les, so with Charles decided to put in freestanding toilet/bathhouses in homes of the economically disadvantaged (mind you, nearly everyone in Desa Les fits that category). Surveys were done and 725 homes in 8 out of the nine banjars (hamlets) were outfitted with kamar mandi bathrooms. This has increased the well being of the population as they no longer practice open defecation and gives dignity to all, particularly the women.
In 2014, we purchased a plot of land in Desa Les where we are building a Vocational Training Center. This Center will focus on four subjects: Culinary Arts, Permaculture organic agriculture, Living Values Education and Cultural Preservation. There will be a 1500 square meter organic garden on the grounds, along with a green roof for herbs. A five star training kitchen and 60 seat restaurant will help prepare the students for life outside of the Center. Living Values Education is a leadership program that gives the students a great sense of self worth and self confidence, alongside values such as integrity, generosity and open communication. Cultural Preservation will give them a sense of pride in their own Balinese roots through the arts.
We are waiting for funding and then we will start building. With the Pusat Amisewaka (Center of Eminent Service) / Desa Les Community Center, we are hopeful that we can help eradicate extreme poverty in many households by providing skills and job opportunities.
For more information, please go to.http://www.desalescommunitycenter.org