This post highlights the efforts of one of the many non-profit organizations supported by the WanderWorld Foundation and WanderTours travelers. BaliWISE believes that a better education for women will contribute to women’s empowerment and poverty reduction.
Indonesia is one of many countries facing extreme poverty, gender bias, and unequally distributed education. Within both urban and rural communities, it is often poor and uneducated young women who are overlooked in favor of providing resources for young men. With Bali’s strong focus and reliance on the tourism industry, young women are often not equipped to participate in the labor force and often fall through the cracks to be exploited by the slave labor and sex trafficking industry.
BaliWISE is part of the greater R.O.L.E. Foundation, which recognizes the benefit of empowering marginalized women through skills education as a means to develop sustainable communities in Indonesia. R.O.L.E. was founded in 2007 with a focus on creating sustainable jobs within coastal communities in Indonesia while preventing land-based waste from contaminating oceans.
As part of this mission, BaliWISE aims to assist disadvantaged and at-risk women in an effort to break the greater cycle of poverty for families. The program focuses on business and vocational skills, particularly for positions in the hospitality industry. BaliWISE has established partnerships with hotels and companies that can provide on-site work experiences.
BaliWISE created its keystone offering, the six-month Marginalized Women’s Skills Education Program, to provide a basic life and work skills education platform for local women in need. Students enrolled in the program receive an expense allowance, which allows them to send money home to support their families while they continue focusing on their studies. Women who graduate have a 90% chance of finding full-time employment within three months. Since its founding in 2012, the organization helped place more than 800 women in gainful employment, and will train 120 disadvantaged women each year.
In addition to providing job training, BaliWISE also supports recycling waste soap from the hospitality industry. Every week, more than 50,000 bars of hotel soap are thrown away in Bali. The S.O.A.P. Recycling Program helps reduce waste by reforming new soaps and also acts as a business model for local women graduating from the Skills Education Program. The recycled soaps are often donated to local orphanages or sold in the BaliWISE shop.
BaliWISE has set up education and training facilities in the local community of Nusa Dua, where WanderTours travelers have the opportunity to meet with BaliWISE staff to learn more about their current programs as well as meet the current students participating in the Skills Education Program. The students enter the program with limited English language proficiency, so having the chance to practice their English with visitors is a valuable opportunity.
If you would like to support BaliWISE and its Skills Education Program, please visit WanderWorld Foundation’s donation page.