When we started the program six years ago at Volunteer Programs Bali all our students came from the areas close to the school. We started very locally and with only a few classes, and most kids were able to walk to the school or hop on a bike for less than 5 minutes.
But over the years our program has been growing, and not just a little bit! Where we started with a few very small programs, we have grown tremendously and we now have over 500 children who are joining our program every week!
We have moved our schools a few times over the years. Our mission is to help as many communities as possible, so we often start a program in a certain area and continue it for a year or two. After that we merge the students into our main school and we look for another community where we can start our program and support the community.
As a result, we have children coming from lots of different areas to our main school. And some of these areas are actually quite far.
There is where our transportation program started. After hearing so many stories of families where their kids really wanted to join our program. But due to lack of financial resources the parents weren’t able to bring them to the school. VP Bali decided to step in and arrange transportation for these children.
One of the missions of Volunteer Programs Bali is also to provide local job opportunities to those who struggle financially and are not able to find a job.
Through the transportation program, we are not only able to help a lot of children and families with free transportation but we can also provide jobs for drivers who don’t have any income.
We found out this system works very well.
Firstly, the children are much more eager to come. Not because the transport is free, but because now all the kids from an area are able to go and they go together as a group of friends. So much more fun to go to school together than by yourself!
Secondly, our drivers are our best promoters! They are the contact person of VP Bali in each area where they pick up children, so they are always up to date and aware of anything happening in the village such as ceremonies or other activities. When children are not coming to the school for a while, the driver will go to their house and talk to the family to find out what happened.
And they are always promoting the program. They put out flyers in the community buildings, they talk about the program at village meetings and they go around the houses to inspire children to come join the program.
Nowadays, we have 5 drivers working for VP Bali. They pick up children from more than 10 different villages, some of these almost an hour away from the school.
Every day, there are more than 200 children that are now able to join our free English classes thanks to this transportation program.
And not to forget, there are 5 drivers who are now have a regular income and are able to provide for their family!