Life cycle rites are very important moments for the Balinese. It starts with ceremonies for an unborn baby and it ends with the last ceremony of life, the cremation. It is very important that this is done well according to Balinese culture, as there is a strong believe in the afterlife and reincarnation. Balinese people aren’t easily stressed, but the one thing that can create stress is the thought of not being able to afford the cremation of your parents and other close family. Cremations can financially ruin poor and middle class families who, by tradition, must provide a suitable cremation ceremony for their loved ones which can cost thousands of dollars. When you are a farmer earning only a hundreds of dollars a year it can mean selling your land or not putting your kids in school.
Fortunately, many Balinese villages have adopted the practice of ngaben massal (mass cremations), where all of the people who die over a larger period of time (approximately 5 years) are cremated at the same time. This mass cremation helps because it allows richer families to subsidize poor ones and allows every family to perform their sacred obligations to their loved ones.
Anik is one of the students of Volunteer Programs Bali. Her mother died two years ago and that time the family didn’t have enough money to have a cremation ceremony for her. This year, a ngaben massal took place in her village so the family was finally able to have the cremation ceremony for her that they have been waiting for.Even though the cremation is much cheaper when joining at a mass cremation, it is not without costs. As Anik comes from a very poor family, they still didn’t have enough money to fund the whole ceremony.
This is where Volunteer Programs Bali stepped in. As VP Bali always tries to help and support the community and their students, the founder and local staff visited Anik at her home to hand a donation for her family. Not only our local organization decided to support her, all the students of her class also decided to collect money to give to the family to support for this expensive and important ceremony.
Anik and her family were very touched by this gesture and so grateful for all the support that they received from VP Bali and her fellow students. Thanks to this the family was able to arrange a beautiful cremation ceremony for Anik’s mother.