BAWA is a non-for-profit organisation serving animals and communities in Bali and beyond. BAWA relies solely on donations to work with local communities to achieve sustainable improvements in animal welfare.
BAWA does the following:
- 24-hour ambulance rescue service
- Treatment & rehabilitation for sick, injured and abused animals
- Sterilisation & vaccination
- Foster & adoption programs
- Education & advocacy (running workshops in schools)
- Street feeding
On my recent trip to Bali, I had the privilege of spending some time with BAWA and their amazing staff. On my first day I met the very influential, Made Suwana who is an educator for BAWA. Together we visited a local school in the village of Ubud, where him and 2 other educators ran 3 different workshops for the students, aged around 8 – 10. To watch Made Suwana in the classroom was an extremely special experience for me. I am no stranger to the classroom environment or teachers for that matter; my own mother and step-father are teachers, not to mention the amount of teachers in my extended family. So I had a solid idea of what I thought a good teacher was. But Made called himself an ‘educator’ and actually didn’t even like the word ‘teacher’. He told me that he is there to “share a message”. Made had the classroom in stitches laughing from the moment we walked in. He was silly and open and worked with the students on their level. The respect in the classroom went both ways. He got the students interested in what he was telling them though humor, and as I watched these children laugh and then put their hand up straight away to answer his questions, I realised how special of a person Made was and how the world needs more educators like him.
In Bali animals are loved, but not to the extent we experience in Australia. We look after our pets to the extreme, they sleep inside, they get feed twice a day, sometimes get the left overs and they are healthy and happy (most of the time). In Bali however the people are busy worrying about keeping themselves fed, healthy and employed, therefore worrying about their pets’ food isn’t on their list of priorities. Now I don’t want to make generalisations, but from my perspective this is what I saw. Many dogs had homes and a family who loved them; however these families didn’t understand that animals need fresh water and food everyday and that they can get sick and need to see a vet. So BAWA teaches these simple but important lessons to the students, so they can go home and share their newfound knowledge with their families.
In the afternoon of the first day, Made and myself went around Ubud & vaccinated local dogs that had skin diseases. I met BAWA’s vet who drove a motorbike with a medical bag attached to the back of it. Inside he had needles, medicine, vaccinations and lots more.
On my second day with BAWA we went ‘Feeding’… This experience was amazing to witness. I met Adi, a Balinese man that didn’t speak much English. We drove around Ubud on the back of a motorcycle and stopped at 6 different locations to feed the local dogs. As I hopped on the back of the motorbike it started raining, and as the rain trickled down my face we were driving through the back of thick, luscious, green and beautiful Ubud. A side you don’t see when you are visiting as a ‘tourist’. As we turned the corner after a lengthy drive, out of nowhere dogs (and lots of them) started chasing the bike. I looked behind me, 2 dogs, 5 dogs,10 dogs and before I knew it we had an entourage of maybe 20 or more dogs following us… they clearly knew Adi and what he was bringing them.
Adi does the rounds of ‘feeding’ every morning, 7 days a week, and Janice, the founder of BAWA (an American woman, living in Bali, now seen as a local) feeds them every evening, 7 days a week.
The dogs went crazy when Adi got off his motorbike. Barking, jumping, tails wagging! He scooped up food with a bowl and poured it in separate locations around the dogs so they would share. He even made sure the puppies got plenty and didn’t get bullied by the bigger dogs.
We did this for about a couple of hours and every location we stopped was completely different. Some of the animals were really skinny and sick looking, while others looked healthy and happy. Adi told me that even the healthy looking dogs wouldn’t get fed if it wasn’t for BAWA, because despite having a family and a place to sleep, no one feds them except BAWA.
The staff at BAWA are committed and passionate people that are doing everything in their power to make Bali a safer and happier place for all animals. BAWA nestled its way into my heart and gave me faith in humanity. The truly amazing staff showed me that Kindness to those who cannot defend themselves and don’t have a voice is probably the most important type of Kindness. As Paul McCartney once said “You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”
The work that BAWA does is very important and necessary, however it’s made harder by the fact that they rely solely on donations to fund their work. The Kindness Effect is currently raising funds for BAWA. Here’s how you can donate:
Email email@example.com – We are selling BAWA Bracelets. They are $10 each (see below photo) and the full $10 will be going to BAWA.
Donate to BAWA here