Quick Update

It has now been one month since I returned from the orphanages on Sumba, Timor and Bali. I have been busy showing the video documentary of the trip to help raise awareness of the needs. It has been encouraging to see even young kids helping to send packages of dried food to the orphanages on Sumba and Timor. My sincere apologies for not getting to the many questions and comments on the website and facebook page. As of this morning, I have exactly one thousand – one hundred and thirty two emails that I still have not gone through. Many of them are people that would like to make visits soon to the children in Bali or are wondering how they can help, so I feel horrible to only now be starting to get back to people. Please be patient as I expect it to take about 2 weeks to fit in all of the corresponding I need to do.

Many people have been wondering if they can help “Regina,” the 9 year old girl in the video. We are currently getting together the exact costs of the surgery she needs and should know within the next week. She is in no immediate danger, but the sooner she gets the surgery the better simply for her comfort and quality of life.

We will be using all of the funding from selling bracelets online to fund her surgery as well as the basic needs of the orphanages on Sumba and Timor. The orphanages on Bali in Tuka and Negara are doing very well financially thanks to the many visitors they have, so this allows to focus our attention on the needs of these other two places. Please have a look at the 42 minute documentary to get a better perspective on how drastic their needs are. We left them with just over one month’s funding of their basic needs and food, but would like to wire them more as soon as possible. You can help in this by getting word out of the bracelet website www.give-jewelry.com

It’s off to answering emails for me now…

Thank you so much to each of you for how you have helped these kids. You have done a very honorable thing by reaching out to the less fortunate.

Your kindness will never be forgotten,

Charlie Halsell

Updates and Photos on Sumba and Timor Orphanages

It’s 6:30 am here in Bali. It took all night to upload photos on our facebook page with such a slow internet connection – so I have to just put a link to them for you here: Sumba and Timor Indonesia Photos This trip so far has been everything from shocking to amazing and inspiring. I have never seen that level of poverty. I need to get a bit of sleep – but I hope to have a detailed post here on the trip and the needs of the orphanages at the end of today. Thank you so much to each of you for your prayers and support of these children. More coming later… charlie
Sumba Indonesia

Leaving For Bali Tomorrow… Last Minute Lessons From My Son

2 dollar bills

The 2 dollar bills that 7yr old Charles gave to me to give to "The Bali Kids."

Less than 14 hours before I leave for the airport. I am sitting in a Starbucks as I write to you, wrapping up last minute emails and details for tomorrow’s 3am departure.
What caused me to write this is the 2 dollar bills that you see in the photo above. My 7 year old son asked me to give them to “The Bali kids.” “I’ts all I have in my ‘Give’ envelope right now, but maybe you can take them out to lunch or just ask them what they want.” said Charles as he smoothed them out for me. (My wife and I went through Dave Ramsey’s ‘Financial Peace University’ and Charles is doing the ‘Save/ Spend/Give’ kid’s version.) I’m not sure if it was feeling his support of what I am doing or seeing such a young person thinking of others with less than him, but I didn’t have a chance to thank him as he ran off to his room and THEN handed me his favorite “Transformer” toy to give away as well. This was not a toy from the back of the closet, this is the one he plays with the most. (here I go again – the people around me in this Starbucks have got to be thinking I have a severe case of allergies – I can’t help but miss my wife and kids already.)

Charles teaches me a lot about giving. I have been way too busy lately, much of it necessary, but I had lost touch with the core of the trip I’m about to take. My son reminded me to simply give what you got. He didn’t worry about the details of it or how far it will go, he just felt something inside him and went with it. Thank you Charles – you’re timing is perfect.

I will be posting here as often as I have an internet connection in Indonesia. Hopefully at least a few times during the 2 weeks I am there. Thank you so much for the support everyone is showing as we take on the needs of these 2 other orphanages. My phone sends me an alert every time someone  supplies another week of food with a purchase from the Give Jewelry Website. As simple as it seems, those alerts are a great boost and reminder to me that although I only have one plane ticket, I won’t be traveling alone.

2011 Do Something Awards

The Do Something Awards

It has been a year now since The Bali Orphanage’s facebook page won the Do Something Award for the facebook charity category. Created by a traveling surfer to “help raise awareness of a remote orphanage in Bali – Indonesia”, the
facebook page(  www.facebook.com/thebaliorphanage )was very slow in growing with only one or two fans joining per week.

The Do Something Awards

The Do Something Awards

“I remember getting so excited when someone left their first comment.” remembers Charlie Halsell. “I’d get up at around 4am, start a pot of coffee and then head straight for the computer to see the new comments.” “One or two new “Likes” made me so happy,  so to see so when people actually started asking if they could actually VISIT the children, I just about went through the roof!” “Whole families and groups of people –even nurses and doctors – started to donate their time volunteering at the orphanage” “They brought their suitcase full of clothes, toys and medicine, books and all kinds of stuff!”
“Austrailia is so close to Bali, that about 70% of the visitors came from there.” explained Halsell. “Some of the first visitors REALLY began to feel a part of the cause.” “There is a wonderful lady that we all call “Aunty Jo” that’s from Austraila.” “She was the first real ambassador that joined in and she still jumps in and answers people’s questions and encourages them to visit on the facebook page.”

“What’s a Do Something Award?”

“After the first year the facebook page was up, I got a shoe box in the mail with a card inside that said I had been nominated for the “Do Something Awards.” “I thought that they were just trying to sell me something, so I just put it aside and ignored it.” remembers Halsell. “It wasn’t until weeks later when I listened to a message from someone from ‘MTV Networks’ that I thought that this whole thing might be legit.” “When I called and found out that the voting had begun and the page was already in the final 5 I started to get pretty excited!” “They said that they would have VIP invites for us to attend the Do Something Awards in Hollywood and that it would be live on VH1!” “I saw that the other nominees were ‘Chase Bank’ (for their 5 MILLION dollars donations to charity) and others and I thought there would be ‘no way’ but I let the facebook fans of The Bali Orphanage know about the nomination and THEY’RE the ones who made it happen!”

“When we found out that it would be a “Red Carpet” kind of event,in Hollywood, my wife Christy and I both borrowed fancy clothes from my brothers and sisters.” (Charlie comes from a family of nine children) “It was so much fun to be the only ‘non-celebrities’ there.” “Randy Jackson from ‘American Idol’ was just down the row from us and ‘Snoop Dog’ was just across from us all night.” ” For me it was great to be able to take my wife to something that “la-dee-dah” – “When we first got married we lived in a 26′ trailer from the 1950’s way up in the mountains at a fishing resort.” “The year before we celebrated our anniversary by going on a tour of the local ‘Jelly-Belly’ factory and eating at a In-N-Out burger. (and THAT was extravagant at that time!)” “Now here we were at a red-carpet event in Hollywood and I felt very blessed to be able to have gone there as a couple.” “We were in borrowed clothes – but we were THERE!”

Other winners of the Do Something Award were Leonardo DiCaprio, “Glee” the Tv Show, Jonas Brothers, Hannah Teter, Kathy Griffin, Tyra Banks, Alyssa Milano, the city of Austin Texas and the film “I am because we are” – a documentary about the orphaned children suffering in Malawi.

 “It’s amazing to see how far things have come at the orphanage.” says Halsell. “When I first went there in the early 90’s, the children only had one set of clothes – t-shirts so worn out that you could see through them and ragged pants with no shoes.”

“How ‘Give Jewelry’ came about was because of a promise I made on that first visit.” “It was the last day of a two month trip and one of the older boys pulled me aside.” “We just small talked and joked a fair bit, but then he took both my hands and looked right into my eyes.” remembers Halsell.

“Please don’t forget about us.” the young boy said.

“He looked so serious, I remember it feeing like he was looking right through me.” “I nervously said ‘Don’t worry – I won’t’ and looked away.”

“He looked me straight in the eyes again and added, ‘Promise?’”

“Yes, yes I promise” I added and could already feel the weight of this ‘oath’ I had just made.”

“Over the next few years, I made many trips to Indonesia, surfing and doing lots of volunteer work – but never to that first orphanage.” “It seemed like I’d always be at the airport or on the return flight back to the States before I’d think about that boy and the promise I had made to him.” “I had made plenty of promises in my life without following up, but this one would not leave me alone.”

Years later Charlie met his bride to be on a volunteer trip in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. “Christy” is the person that Charlie credits with the success of Give Jewelry and raising funds and awareness of The Bali Orphanage and others like them. “She is my constant.” “I’ve always been a dreamer with only half-follow ups at best.” “Christy doesn’t forget the goals we set together.” “On her first trip to Bali – our honeymoon – I told her about my idea of starting a business to provide for the basic needs of the children, and she said ‘Let’s go for it!’” “That’s when things started taking off.” “Before that, there were only occasional visitors to the orphanage.” “Just word getting out about us starting a company to fund the needs of the orphanage created an awareness that got all KINDS of people involved.” “The facebook fans alone brought so many donations to the orphanage in Tuka, Bali that they were able to give to other orphanages as well.” “Orphanages supporting other orphanages?” “Now THAT was awesome!”

“I always knew that I could never meet the needs of even one orphanage.” “Now with their facebook family and the Do Something Awards to help get word out, it’s great to see how many children’s lives are changed because a LOT of people are each doing a little.”

“I kept the trophy for the Do Something Award in my office for a few months, but then took it with me on my next visit to the children in Bali.” “Every time I looked at that thing, I knew that people had voted with the children in mind.” “That award was theirs and I knew it.” “I surprised them with it at a party they put on for me.” “I cried hard as I brought the trophy out of the fancy black box that it had been delivered in.” ‘This is for you guys’ I forced out through slobber and tears.” “LOTS of people from around the world know about you now – and YOU have helped THEM to feel needed again.” “and then I added lots of other mumbled stuff that I can’t really remember now.”

The “Do Something Award” now sits in the entryway to the orphanage in Tuka, Bali. It is a constant reminder to the children that THEY have made a difference. “It’s funny to think that Snoop Dog and Leonardo Di Caprio have the same trophy as the kids.” “The kids know these celebrities by name and I think it makes them feel pretty special to have something in common with them.”

So that’s the story of the first winner of the “Do Something Award” for the facebook category. You can vote for the current nominees for the 2011 Do Something Awards here at this link. 2011 Do Something Awards

The Bali Orphanage Fundraiser “Give-Jewelry” now shipping Worldwide!

Bali orphanage sponsor - Give-Jewelry

We are happy to announce that the “ONE PIECE –> ONE CHILD –> ONE WEEK OF FOOD” Movement as of today is now in over 40 countries! Winner of VH1 Do Something Awards, Give Jewelry was founded to bring consistency to the funding of the basic needs of the Sidhi Astu orphanage in Tuka Bali.  It quickly expanded to also help support the Maria Goretti orphanage in West Bali. With the new vision to grow to help support the many other orphanages on Bali, Give-Jewelry is expanding today to include internationally shipping! This has come about through the many requests from people around the globe that wanted help by showing their support of the movement. It is encouraging to hear how many people have been able to raise awareness of  the needs of the children when someone asks them about the “Give” charm on their bracelet or necklace. No-one would have guessed that these jewelry pieces would go far beyond serving as a reminder to the wearer of the gift they gave to a child. Now these little charms are taking on a voice of their own – encouraging activism to fight hunger as well as creating change in the hearts of the people who hear how they can easily make a difference. It’s all so exciting!

To start, the online store will be able to ship to the countries in the list below and then add others as the international shipping insurance allows. Thank you each for how you have already supported the children through sharing their story with your family and friends. Many of you have even be able to make visits to the children, bringing encouragement as well as generous donations to them. We invite you to also join in raising funds and awareness through Give-Jewelry. You can find the website HERE. They are also doing a giveaway to launch international shipping. You can see the details on the giveaway on their blog http://www.givejewelryblog.com

Current countries that Give-Jewelry ships to:

Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Belgium
Bermuda
Canada
Chile
China
Costa Rica
Croatia
Czech Rebublic
Denmark
Egypt
El Salvador
England
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Guatemala
Holland
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Luxembourg
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Portugal
Samoa
Scotland
South Arfica
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Turkey
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Wales

How Cool Is This: Someone’s First Encounter With The Bali Orphanage

A First Visit to The Bali Orphanage

Earlier this week I was surfing next to the pier in Pismo Beach California. During a lull in the waves I heard someone mention going to “Indo’ in a few days.” I had never met this surfer before, so it felt a bit strange to paddle over to him and ask

Pismo Beach Pier

Pismo Beach Pier at Sunset - photo by charlie H.

 

“I know this might seem weird because I just met you, but would you mind taking some clothes and other donations to an orphanage there in Bali?”

“Will you  be stopping in Bali?” Plus my intentions were somewhat selfish. (I have not been able to visit the children and Sisters since December now – so we have boxes and boxes of donations that have piled up here in our office thatwould normally go with us ever few months) “yeah! ,” he said. “I’ll be there for 3 weeks actually.” Jackpot! I thought. “I know this might seem weird because I just met you, but would you mind taking some clothes and other donations to an orphanage there in Bali?”

“Oh yeah, no problem!” he answered without hesitation.

A few minutes later we exchanged names and then a outside set came so right before the wave broke in front of us I hollered “Just remember ‘the-bali-orphange.com” “get ahold of me through the website!” and then wondered if we would ever connect after that.

Well we did! I got an email from him mentioning he was taking the train to the airport the next day at 2pm and that he could pick up the donations before then. I saw this email on my phone as my wife and I and our 4 kids walked out to see the sunset from the end of the pier. I called him right away and half an hour after every sign of the sunset was gone, we were at “Willie’s” house – just a mile or 2 from our own. Up to this point we had only seen each-other so we were still technically “strangers” – but we exchanged hand shakes, well wishes and a few Indo tips. (Willie’s surfed all over South America, but this was his first Indo trip)

To make a long story longer….

I just got an email from both Dewa and Willie. (swell is pumping right now by the way) They will meet each other later today! So cool to see how this whole thing unfolded and I’m encouraged by Willie’s “why not!” attitude. He is a good guy.

Hopefully I will be able to share a bit more of his trip and visit to meet the children – but in case I don’t – here’s a link to the comment thread as it unfolded on facebook this week.  https://www.facebook.com/givejewelry/posts/222050457832344

As exciting as this was for me to experience, I know that there are so many stories of people’s first found out about and made their 1st visit to the children, Sisters and staff in Tuka. Please encourage others and share YOUR story of how you first came to know about this special place. Just use the “Leave a Reply” box below.