I am Australian mother building an inclusive disability community project for my 18 year old daughter and other children with special needs in Bali. I am passionate about natural building and design, experimentation, raising awareness and sharing skills that can make building bamboo homes sustainable, affordable and accessible – especially for People LIVING IN “developing countries” who make up around 70% of the global population of our planet. I have been learning about bamboo craft and construction for the last three years through a construction project based in Bali and am working to establish a not-for-profit trading co-opertaive for people with special needs compatible with my daughter’s and their families who may want to visit/spend time in Bali and be part of a supported lifestyle and activity program.
I am creating an Eco-activity Community Centre inclusive of special needs and facilitate eco-product and craft-making, and eco-building using recycled/reclaimed trash, bamboo and earth-building techniques. The overall aim of this project is to provide a community space for young people and adults with disabilities to be and feel included in community life and activities; My passion is to help share skills and knowledge of how we can live more sustainably, alongside practical experience learning bamboo carpentry and construction: Weaving, craft skills and other right-brain activities, healing modalities; and at a local level maintain traditions and promote the value of bamboo as a sustainable building material/resource and enable it’s revival and enhancement in developing countries.
Prior to living here in Bali, we stayed in the Philippines with local families for about 8 months. Being in a family environment eased the care burden for me and helped me through a very challenging time when I was experiencing Overwhelm regularly and was at the point of “Carer Breakdown” (what spurred me to leave Australia). In Philippines, my daughter Freyr was able to be part of a FAMILY, and I was able to help finance and build and some small family projects to help the families earn income through a small livelihood. A fish-farm, a home-office/studio room and lastly a bamboo homestay gave me the opportunity to learn so much and freed my focus and attention from my daughter which enabled my mental health to recover. My time was freed up enough that I was also able to help a friend plan a trip to bring solar lights to a tribal village group; and I also to travelled to Bali to find out about non-chemical treatment for bamboo. My decision to leave the isolation and bureaucratic nightmares that wore me down in Australia has certainly led us on an amazing journey!
I have been incredibly inspired since first coming to Asia at how inclusive the culture is towards people with special needs, and by the presence of Foundations/Yayasans here in Bali whose charter it is to help children with disabilities. I have actually felt human and connected in a way I had never experienced in Australia. We naturally slotted in to a more co-operative mindset and sense of shared responsibility… I feel so blessed to be able to experience life in a more “connected” way and to be able to contribute in some way and help others.
This is what led me to have a vision to create a wholistic village where “sustainable” activities are just part of daily life and form part of a living program where our “kids” get to join in and participate together with paid staff/carers and the broader local community as well as travellers and visitors who wish to participate in being of service to the Greater Good and are interested in sharing their time and skills with us… See our FRIENDS OF FREYR page for more info about this project and current opportunities to join our Family Homestay in Bali.
I endeavor to become part of the network of social enterprises which are developing globally and help form connections in ways where we may return to our familiar/tribal roots as humankind and plant the seeds of Caring Custodianship; pulling the weeds of Capitalism out of our lives as we go… To rethink How we think... about ourselves and everything around us. Through experiencing BEING in Com-munity and engaging in activities which bring us into Communion/ Communication with ourselves and each other… To be able to Feel and just be Present for our Kids with special needs – and enjoy them!… To unravel our minds… to open our Hearts to what has been there all along. I see my responsibility to enable other families to also enjoy a more co-operative way of life – that restores and enhances the local culture also.
Living in BALI
On investigation of what it would cost to hire another teacher (monthly), so that we wouldn’t be “taking a place away” from a local child, I discovered that the cost would be on par with 1 or 2 therapy sessions in Australia. It wasn’t hard to weigh up the advantages: Be included in a school and social program for a month or get 2 therapy sessions in Australia… So we chose to settle here in Bali and with only our income from Child Support (and a debt payout of 14 years unpaid child support) be part of a less stressful and more inclusive and natural way of life.
My daughter Freyr attends school with the Matahari Terbit Foundation at the Sunrise School in Kerobokan where she can continue until she turns 21. Part of the evolution of this project is to co-found or create a post-school aspect to this program – which is where the inclusive village and collaboration with other families and co-operative venture comes into play – where also there will be more opportunity to learn bamboo construction and natural building (a big draw-card for our volunteers) and offer workshops for the public as well as Outreach Tours for those interested in learning and helping develop the sustainability aspect and research topics of this project. We also hope to offer skill exchange and exchange programs internationally to enable local staff to receive training overseas and also to enable kind caring and compassionate people working abroad to experience the family and cultural life of Bali.
Feel free to get in touch with me here…
Today in our bamboo workshop we made the frame for a model house (found the design on the internet) and everyone learned about how to split bamboo to make strips of different sizes, sketched our model and applied some pythagoras’ theorem to calculate some of the lengths we needed to cut. We took a tour […]
We have created our own Home-based Enterprise homeschool subject (while our local school is closed) on making a small business on Instagram… it’s a good opportunity to partner with some local families and help them to find an alternative source of income during these times when the hospitality sector is shut down…. Let’s see what […]
I’m now working on an affordable way to make a fast roof without tiles or tin… using bamboo and woVen bamboo bedeck as our skeletal frame and ‘tendons’….
I remember the moment I woke up to being present in stillness… It seemed that time stopped… that all the smells, the textures, the embodiment of spiritual culture in my surroundings, my teacher, the food, the 3 in 1 coffee…. All burst into me at once. There I was, just sitting breathing, feeling, actually feeling […]
Working with bamboo: Workshops for renewable technologies, home and furniture construction.
Welcoming seasoned ecowarriors and global nomads, all friends searching for meaningful ways to contribute in our lives and tap our creativity… finding our purpose… or letting it dawn on us that we are already here living our purpose: Whatever the case may be for you, we hope to include you in the array of ways […]
Introducing our Bamboo Creative day-only and week-full workshops From creative projects to building design, immersing yourself in the wonderful world of natural material, treatment and recycling processes will uncover or expand your deeper human desire to create as a community and for learning and helping together… It’s what makes us human right? Our ability to […]