Handle With Care International performs the bulk of its humanitarian work in Indonesia, although we have projects in Nepal as well.
While we work in a number of Indonesian provinces, Aid Trips are usually held on the island of Bali.
Known for its surf beaches, partying life-style and tourist spot for many Australians, Bali has the perception of being a rich island. Sadly, this is not the case – in fact, Bali’s minimum wage was set in 2014 to Rp 1,321,000 per month (at the time of writing this article, using AUD as the base rate, converts to approximately $128 ) – although this is only as effective as it is enforced, and also is limited to people who are actually employed, and not people self-employed, such as farmers or food vendors.
In one of the remote villages we provide humanitarian aid to, we found that the ‘wealthy’ families in the community brought in around Rp 2,000,000 ( $200 ) a year and the poorer families approximately Rp 1,000,000 ( $100 ). It is noted though that these were subsistence farmers – who survive off what they grow and sell, however they also only get rain during the rainy season each year. The remainder of the year they are effectively in drought.
In the urban areas, many of the communities we work with are squatters on government or private land, living in temporary shacks with walls made from asbestos sheeting with no floors on either government land until they are either removed (often to make way for new developments) or find work in another area of Indonesia. Others are living in slightly (and we mean ‘slightly’) better conditions on the land where they work, but once the work is over, or once the landlord’s contract is over, these people are forced to move on. As a result, many of the people we deal with in urban environments are transitory – which makes it difficult to provide a long-term, sustainable solution for them. In these instances, we focus on improving their health and skill-set, which will go with them where ever they end up.