Creative launches Bali Kids

Creative launches Bali Kids
By admin

The concept of karma, essentially what goes around comes around, is an important tenet in the Hindu faith. And on the island of Bali, where a little over 92% of the nearly four million inhabitants practise Balinese Hinduism, a positive karmic reaction can be worth a lot.

Creative Holidays, one of many brands in the Travel Corporation stable, is no stranger to the island. It sends droves of Australian travellers on package trips to its shores each year. It was this familiarity, coupled with a desire to give something back, that saw the wholesaler lend its support to Bali Kids, beginning in early January.

Bali Kids is an organisation that provides health and clinical services as well as education to more than 6000 disadvantaged children on the island. Creative Holidays managing director Paul McGrath recently pledged a $1 levy per person for bookings to Bali. They have also made a $5000 donation to a new building for the organisation.

Nowadays many companies speak of corporate responsibility. Those in charge no doubt can envisage the bright sheen charity work can imbue an organisation with if it is conducted well.
But when Andrew Yell, Creative Holidays' general manager of product, sales and marketing, told an audience of travel industry media visiting Bali Kids that the charity felt like "the right fit", there was no reason to think he was being disingenuous. At the same time, it also illustrated that when a company supports a worthy cause, there is no harm in word of the good deed getting out.

There are plenty of reasons to support such a charity. The Bali that the average Australian tourist sees is but the flashy veneer of what is a developing landscape. Certainly the more built up areas of the island's south – familiar names like Kuta, Nusa Dua and Seminyak – prosper on the tourist trade. But the regions beyond the coastal hotel precincts speak of a much more exacting life.

Take a drive north into the hills and as the suburbs of Denpasar disappear, the villages become increasingly more rustic. Houses are roofed with corrugated iron, stray dogs wander the uneven roads and women launder clothes in the irrigation channels that line terraced rice paddies. Agriculture is the way of life and men and women toil hard in the sodden fields. Health care and education in the remote villages is basic or non-existent.

Consequently the people succumb to diseases and ailments that have mostly been eradicated in Western countries. Children in particular suffer as there is seldom enough money available for those living in villages to pay for medical care.

These realities were made plain to us by Brenton Whittaker, project coordinator at Bali Kids, on the occasion of our visit. Although his background is in the travel industry, his comportment and knowledge of pharmaceuticals made him seem very much a medical man.

The existing premises, soon to be superseded by the new building, felt like part doctor's office, part creche. Large cabinets of medications, donated from countries such as the Netherlands, Australia and Canada stood sentinel as six or seven young children scampered about. They looked spry and healthy, full of youthful vigour, but Whittaker told us solemnly that most had suffered tuberculosis and several were HIV-infected. Some are beset with congenital conditions that will require surgery, to say nothing of those who had suffered through domestic abuse.

It was easy to detect the care and affection Whittaker and his staff have for the children. He described the support of Creative Holidays as "hugely important, whether it's of a material or a financial nature". Emphasis on youth is clearly not misplaced either. By educating the young it helps stop health-related problems from recurring through future generations, he told us.

Tourists on Creative Holidays packages have the option to donate their (tax deductible) $1 to the cause. Yell said that $1 was decided on for operational reasons. "We talked about what would be appropriate. We hope that people wouldn't opt out of paying that amount," he said.

Whatever people's consciences dictate, it's clear that Creative Holidays has found a deserving and transparent cause.

And should the wholesaler reap some good karma from agent recommendations and extra sales, anyone who has seen the smiling young faces at Bali Kids would have a hard time arguing that it isn't well deserved.

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