With Bali welcoming more than five million visitors to the holiday isle in a normal year, the much-loved tourist destination enjoys a thriving tourism-based economy.
However, the island has also seen its fair share of setbacks, from the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005 to the multiple eruptions of Mount Agung in 2017, and the devastating Lombok earthquake that took place in 2018.
Bali has seen tourism numbers drop severely before but has always bounced back.
COVID-19 is different though.
People can’t travel even if they want to. A year has passed without international tourists and there is no end in sight.
“Yet again, Bali finds itself in a crisis situation,” says Dean Keddell, restaurateur, executive chef and owner of two of Bali’s most-beloved restaurants – Ginger Moon Canteen and Jackson Lily’s.
“This pandemic has reaped havoc amongst families and communities, as well as costing the economy billions of dollars,” he says.
Without tourists, few businesses are open and there is no local work for the majority of the population.
That means huge financial stress for most families.
While Dean normally employs 130 staff over his two venues, he says he has now had to cut back to a core of 50.
Without clientele for his restaurants, they remain closed and Dean has found it difficult to keep up the well-being and morale of his staff and their families.
“I found myself sitting amongst the chaos wondering what I could do,” he says. “So I thought I would make my staff active by providing a project that we could all get involved in. We began collecting favourite family recipes that have been handed down through the generations of their families and then we expanded to ask local Warung cooks for theirs.”
“We have now produced a beautiful, large hardcover cookbook, Our Bali Your Bali (Bali Kita Bali Kamu), which incorporates lots of colourful images, family and community stories, more than 100 local recipes and a collection from both my restaurant kitchens. At 400 pages, it really is more of a coffee-table cookbook,” he says.
The Bali Needs Our Help project is asking people to pre-order books via a Chuffed crowd funder with more than AUD310,000 raised to date.
Dean wants everyone who has ever visited Bali to support the cause by purchasing a book.
The project aims to sell 5,000 books and raise AUD375,000 with all profits going directly to local charities that have been badly hit.
“The charities we have chosen are the backbone of Balinese society – they support the poor and vulnerable at the best of times. Now with this pandemic, many more families have joined the ranks of the needy, while the charities have found themselves unable to raise their normal funds,” says Keddell.
“I know for sure that cashflows are at critical levels and these charities need financial aid to continue their wonderful support of local families with food, clothing, education and environmental needs.”
The five charities that will receive funding from the project are:
- Bali Children’s Foundation – helping thousands of local children to complete school and to find employment.
- Scholars of Sustenance – combatting the effects of COVID-19 by providing nutrition to those in need.
- Friends of the National Parks Foundation – working to protect wildlife and their habitats, at the same time supporting local communities.
- East Bali Poverty Project – helping people to help themselves
- Bali Wise by R.O.L.E Foundation – empowering marginalised women through skills education, as a means to develop sustainable communities.
“If you have ever visited Bali or plan to enjoy some time on our tropical island,” says Keddell, please support us and buy a book. I promise you’ll love all the stories, photos and local recipes.”
Bali’s warm and sincere hospitality has been captured between the covers in order for us to bring our precious Bali to you.”
To donate, visit https://chuffed.org/project/bali-needs-our-help
Feature image by Khamkeo Vilaysing via Unsplash