Hi friends and families, this is Tess! Hope you are well.
I’m raising funds on behalf of Agnes Rini-Astuti. Agnes is the founder of a little but multi-awarded pre-kindergarten school with 120 children ages 2-6 on the magical island of West Bali. The school is called PAUD Cemara Kasih.
I'll be so grateful if you could join me in supporting Agnes, as every dollar makes a big difference in Bali. Together we will be able to help Agnes fulfill her next dream - to expand into a green school so she could do even more to help children, teachers, and people of Indonesia lead wholesome and sustainable lives.
With an expanded school, she will be able to:
* Educate more underprivileged children in the school.
* Train more teachers (outside her school) to spread the power of ‘active learning’
* Upgrade her ‘active learning’ with organic gardening for children and eco-focused activities so she can make environmental protection second nature in young minds.
In May this year, the empty land next to the school went up for sale at a reasonable price. This is the blessed opportunity that Agnes has been waiting for! We have to grab it.
HOW YOUR GENEROSITY WILL MAKE AN IMPACT
Oh yes, your support will go a long way. Agnes will use the fund to:
1. Buy the land next to the school, measuring 10 are or 1000 square meters for IDR 100 million or $7,600.
2. Build the needed facilities with the rest of the fund including:
* Training room - a sustainable, multi-purpose, wall-less room made out of bamboo where she can do more group training for Balinese teachers, and parents-children integrated activities. I will lead with her the first ‘teachers conference’ in Bali to encourage cross-learning and cross-sharing. This will be Agnes’ first ever teachers’ conference.
*More playground not just for play but also yearlong eco-activities to make greening the school and instilling environmental habits in the children as easy as possible.
*More organic vegetable gardening for children to engage curiosity and wonder; and increase parents’ engagement by providing inspiration, community know-how and resources.
I will be responsible in withdrawing from the fund and monitoring how it is used. For complete transparency, I will update you on a monthly basis (or until you tell me to stop!) on how the fund is being used, and the progress of the expanded school - before, during, and after.
MEET WHO YOU ARE HELPING
In September 2016 during an educational tour of remote West Bali, I met Agnes, 37 years old. She has this warm smile and easy laugh, a very positive aura. Agnes is one of the most self-empowered women I’ve ever met in Bali. As a local teacher, she is inspiring in many ways but there are 3 things that, to me, makes Agnes indeed SPECIAL and worth helping.
Building her first little school. Agnes sold handmade jewelry for a few years to fund her first school building that opened in 2010. Imagine the size of a standard hotel room. She has that remarkable determination to reach her goal - to help underprivileged children get access to quality early education at the lowest cost. In six years, her little school had grown from 17 underprivileged children to now an inclusive mix of children from multi-faith, and families in extreme poverty and families with low income. Community spirit also evolved as families with low income willingly paid more, or paid in full for the children from families who cannot afford. With the generosity of a number of parents, Agnes was able to build two other classrooms.
Changing Lives through the Power of Active Learning. Agnes dared to revolutionize early education for underprivileged children in Bali by developing her own “active learning” program. This is her passion, holistic and multi-disciplinary learning where she focuses - not just on basic reading, writing and arithmetic - but also on “life skills” including loving and caring for others, nutrition, gardening, cooking, good manners and hygiene, waste management, safety, and even entrepreneurship. With an active learning program, she creates a happy and energetic atmosphere for learning for both the children and the parents. She’s also a natural composer; the 16 children songs she composed teach children about life skills.
Generously Training Teachers. When Agnes received several awards from the government for her unique “active learning” curriculum, she generously offered to train fellow teachers in Bali who are interested to reuse her curriculum and songs. Today, Agnes travels to neighboring schools to train an ever increasing number of eager teachers.
BE INSPIRED WITH AGNES MISSION
Agnes has an impressive big mission for a small village school: to educate for sustainability through parents-integrated, active learning, in a natural environment. It’s founded on her strong values within a supportive, inclusive, and multi-faith environment. At her school, children, teachers, parents, and local village neighbors learn, work and play together to inspire and encourage each other to live purposeful lives. She took her idea with lots of passion and planted the seeds to start an early education revolution. It’s not just about early education anymore. It’s about a new paradigm that embraces, first and foremost, education, living and sustainability.
WHY HELPING AGNES MEANS A LOT TO ME
Many of you know my Bali story. In a nutshell, in the summer of 2016, I shifted my corporate life to community service when a global humanity foundation gave me a one-year volunteer opportunity - to manage an education center for underprivileged children in Jakarta. Before going to Jakarta, I made a side trip to Bali to chill and prepare for the life-changing experience of community service in Jakarta. But the Bali spirit had other plans and wanted me to stay in Bali.
When I met Agnes in that educational tour I described above, things changed. Seeing how Agnes - with no money and support with so much vision, passion and skills - was able to change the lives of so many children and teachers, was a revelation. In that moment, I discovered a compassionate opportunity to help Agnes reach her goals. I asked myself: can I do something more to help Agnes reach her goals, but also create my own way to spread happiness and generosity to the world? In that moment the dream of FeelGood was born. On February 20 this year, in Bali, I launched feelgoodbali.com, a global online boutique for women pajamas. But wait, not just pajamas. They’re pajamas made with my love and commitment for style, sustainability, and helping change lives. They’re Happy Helping Pajamas!
HELPING because the proceeds of sales enable us to support two pre-schools for underprivileged children in Bali. They are PAUD Cemara Kasih (Agnes’s school) and PAUD Widya Kumara Sari. FeelGood supports by funding the school fees of children from families in extreme poverty. Using proceeds of sales from February to July, we were able to help Nengah (another empowered woman who'd been growing PAUD Widya Kumara Sari for 9 years) by sending 10 children to her school (6 to kindergarten and 4 to pre-school) and funding the children's annual and monthly fees. When I met with the children and their parents, and listened to their sad stories, I ended up doing all the crying.
HAPPY because our pajamas got style and high quality, yet so comfortable that you’d want to wear them as streetwear not just sleepwear; you value more wear time, and you get more value for your money. Happy because we commit to sustainability; our pajamas are made with only pure cotton and silk, and made in a safe, clean and fair way so we are respectful of the artisans while doing our part to keep our planet healthy.
When women wear our happy helping pajamas, they feel good because they’re doing good; they’re helping Agnes and Nengah! Empowered women empowering each other to help others! Isn't that amazing?
Yes, to be beautiful inside and out feels good!
For more information about Agnes and PAUD Cemara Kasi, please visit our website www.feelgoodbali.com.
With love and so much gratitude,
- Nancy Battey
- Nina Leach
- lenore ocava
- Pamela Canada Fiander
- Jackie Vosgerichian
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