Giving back in a time of need

Charities around the world have faced continuous struggles following the COVID-19 outbreak. Many have been forced to close their doors as social distancing has meant they could not provide their services to those in need.

And yet, more people than ever have needed help through the pandemic.

This has created a conundrum, especially as donations have dropped dramatically as many of those who would normally contribute regularly to charitable organisations have faced their own financial struggles and have been unable to give.

So while demand for charitable work has risen dramatically, the means to fund the work has fallen spectacularly.

One such charity that has been struggling is a charity close to my heart – the Jodie O’Shea House in Bali.

Our visit to the Jodie O’Shea House

In November last year, my family and I travelled to Bali to help children in need at a local orphanage, the Jodie O’Shea House.

Ahead of the visit, we raised 10,000,000 IDR (AUD$1,000) to feed the 85 orphans for two weeks. Initially, our target was to feed the orphanage for one week, but thanks to the generosity of the community we were able to bump it up to a fortnight of meals!

It was the most rewarding experience for my children, husband and I to see the kids’ faces light up as we delivered fresh meat, eggs and fruit to their home.

We were delighted in purchasing some birthday presents for our dance school’s sponsor child, Ivon, who lives at the Jodie O’Shea House.

The experience of giving back

We first learned about Ivon through my daughter’s dance school, Turning Pointe Performance Academy, as they sponsored her journey through the orphanage.

When we heard Ivon would be turning 11 around the time we were heading to Bali, we jumped at the opportunity to brighten her birthday with a visit and gifts.

My children, Hazel and Jay, had devoted themselves to saving a portion of their pocket money over the previous year to be able to deliver these gifts, and it was a proud parenting moment to see them give back to the vulnerable community.

It was wonderful to watch our children playing with the Balinese kids as they joined in the games in the yard of the Jodi O’Shea house.

Shopping for food at the local markets with Ivon and the Jodi O’Shea carer’s is an experience that our family will treasure for years to come.

Delivering the food back to the orphanage and seeing the kids’ faces as they packed it all away was priceless. It was amazing how much fresh fruit, eggs, and meat our $1000 AUD bought for these children.

How COVID-19 has affected the Jodie O’Shea House

The Jodie O’Shea House has had limited visitors since March this year, due to lockdown restrictions aimed at keeping the children safe.

Unfortunately, this has meant donations have fallen as visitors normally bring generous food donations to help feed the children.

This means the orphanage is now in need of urgent food supplies to feed the kids – and there are currently 68 children in care at the Jodie O’Shea House.

Children’s clothing is also in need at this time, and you can find a complete updated list of the clothing required on their website here.

The orphanage is appealing for support in the forms of monetary donations to help purchase items that are needed for the children. The volunteers and workers at the Jodie O’Shea House will do the shopping and send the donor a copy of the receipt and photo of proof of purchase following the donation.

The history of the Jodie O’Shea House

The Jodie O’Shea House was founded following the Bali bombings in 2002, in which Jodie O’Shea lost her life at the age of 29.

In the wake of the bombing tragedy, many wanted to donate to those in need in Bali and founders of the charity, Alison and Yanto, decided to pool these resources together to help improve the lives of Balinese children in need.

Alison was greatly affected by the kind and generous spirit of Jodie while nursing her following the bombings and before she was medivacked home to Australia. Jodie made a life-long impression on Alison, who remarked it was like ‘an angel came into her life that day,’ and in the wake of her death, Alison decided to name the charity in her honour.

The success of the Jodie O’Shea House

The charity opened in 2005 and relies solely on the donations of the general public to survive. The ages of the children range from six months to 21 years, and the aim of the orphanage is to provide the kids with unconditional love and set them up for success later in life.

Most of the children come from poverty-stricken backgrounds and have faced traumatic lives before coming to the orphanage. By living at the Jodie O’Shea House, these children are given a better chance at life with a healthy diet and an education, while being loved and cared for by those who run the special home.

If you would like to make a donation to this worthwhile cause, please visit their website here. If we all give a little, it will make a big difference in the lives of these beautiful children.