Sweet, sweet charity

I’ve been completely impressed by the charitable community I live in.  Over the last few weeks I’ve featured in this column several charities that have been supported by locals and residents. The combined amount of dollars raised in a short period of time, which I have roughly calculated, equals some US$50,000, which is quite staggering. I think the various organizations must be thrilled that the worthy causes they support have such a community commitment to them, and that despite what some critics say about the expat crowd here, we do give generously back to help the people and children of Bali who really need it. Personally I have been touched by the generosity of spirit and selflessness of so many commercial and private businesses and those in hospitality and media who without question have donated so much to my own personal fundraising quests, projects and events time and time again, no matter how many times I have asked. Bravo to you all for your altruistic efforts!


Last Sunday I was fortunate to be part of yet another fantastic charity event, at the Canggu Club for the I’m an Angel Carols by Candlelight. The benevolence shown to the club’s organizers for this event was phenomenal. All the talented musicians, soloists and performers, including choral students from Bali’s international schools, sang their hearts out for the fundraising event for absolutely nothing. What true angels they are. Their generosity is truly commendable. A show like this would have cost hundreds of dollars to put on and promote and without the support of media supporters including this broadsheet, who gave the event valuable advertising and promotional space, there would have been no show and there would not have been 500 people attending the concert.


Importantly, the event raised funds for the health and educational needs of many of Bali’s impoverished and disadvantaged children, who, under the banner of the I’m an Angel Foundation, include 2,788 children in the Tianyar Region of Karangasem, as well as 150 of the region’s orphans. And what a great feeling it was to be able to give to these kids. It was amazing to see the community swarm the specially erected Christmas Angel Tree and Angel Board to take a name of one of the children in need to donate to, or purchase a present for. In addition to this there were 177 pre-packaged Ready for School packs which enabled all 177 children to start school with the appropriate supplies for an entire year of study. Donors were kind enough to buy up all the packs as well as add to them with more toys, books and candy as well as clothing. It really was a phenomenal sight to see so much outpouring of goodwill, generosity and gift-giving.


The club itself opened up to welcome the public at no cost and invited all the community to share in their Christmas spirit. The club’s chairman of the board, Steve Kenny, took the opportunity to announce the club’s Outreach Program, which has been instigated to channel funds to organizations in Bali, host further events and assist other organizations by making the club available for use for their own fundraising events. Another great charitable act!


I must mention the incredible talents of the kids and residents who took to the stage performing carols. Apart from school choirs of Bali International School, Canggu Community School and soloists, there were a number of performers, including opera vocalist Katrina Valkenberg, who opened the show with Joy to the World; Bali’s favorite angel in disguise, registered nurse, midwife and jazz singer Kim Patra; pianists Dierk Harte, Meredith Brooks and Karl St Charles; Indonesia’s Thasia Handayani; and the incredible talents of Ricky Bare and Diah Ajung from Bali Discovery, who performed a stirring duet with their rendition of The Prayer. A Christmas play, Santa’s Workshop, performed by the Dramarama Group of children was a roaring success and commendations go to Australian producer, director and actress Heidi Da Silva and designer Ute Gaenshirt for the outstanding performance and sensational costuming, backdrop and props.

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Talented 9-year-old Jennifer McClennon from the Australian International School thrilled the 500-strong audience with her version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus whilst the crowds got up to dance to the fast-paced rock version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town belted out by 13-year-old Tahlia Shearin together with the Bali International School Choir. The performances were all truly dazzling. The highlight of the night, of course, was Santa Claus and his Scarlett helper, who were mobbed as hundreds of children flocked the stage for free candy and a chance to meet the man with the bag.

Loads of festive fare was dished up during the evening, including mince pies, gingerbread men, shortbread biscuits and plenty of iced coconut-spiked eggnog, which made for a very merry event that raised an incredible amount of gifts, financial support and donations for the beautiful angels of Karangasem.

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