Australia Helps Bali, Lombok Communities

DENPASAR ~ The Australian Consulate General here has announced funding for impoverished communities in Bali and Lombok worth just over Rp261.5 million (US$28,421).

The funds would be channeled through the consulate’s Direct Aid Program and given out to community projects in Bali but mainly on its easterly neighbor, the consulate said in a statement received by The Bali Times.

The program is a small-grants scheme that supports small-scale development projects, allowing communities to bring about sustainable projects that are beneficial to all, it said.

The programs are a sewing project for women in Kekait village in West Lombok, and a sanitation project in Glogor in the same area. Children in Bagikpapan village in East Lombok are set to benefit from improved educational facilities. Also in Lombok, buildings and accommodation for the elderly in the Ampenan area of the capital Mataram are to be renovated while additional educational materials will be provided.

In addition, part of the funds have been allocated for pre-operative expenses for babies in Lombok, enabling them to travel to Bali for cleft lip and palate operations.

In Bali, training facilities for handicapped people in Tampak Siring will be renovated.

Australian Consul General in Bali Bruce Cowled said the funding would help improve the lives of the people on both islands.

“I feel confident that these communities will use the [funds] as a special chance to improve conditions for themselves and future generations,” he said.

After a visit to the areas last November, Cowled said he was “particularly pleased to have approved a number of projects in Lombok – where great need in some areas is paired with strong enthusiasm from the community to improve living conditions.”

The consul is to make another trip to Lombok later this year, where he will view the projects and meet the local communities, the consulate, which will consider funding applications for the 2007-8 period up to July, said. (BT/WJF)

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