Local Fundraising Events: A Couple of Recent Highlights

by Johanna N. Ottolinger,  Director, FR&M

At IHF, we invite our volunteers to take a hands-on role in informing and engaging their local communities to raise awareness for and about IHF. This includes increasing awareness through networking and events, engaging local advertisers and establishing a sustainable presence with strategic partners willing to promote and support IHF’s work.

Two recent examples highlighted here include a football event in Jakarta and a Bingo Night in Bali. These are just samples of how instrumental each and every volunteer can be in enabling IHF’s mission.

IHF Jakarta Futsal (Football) Cup: The IHF Jakarta Futsal cup was organized by Mindaugas, one of Jakarta’s Co-Directors. Apart from being an avid footballer himself, he had formerly organized various football-related events with the IHF children. Proceeds were generated through teams paying registration fees and awareness was disseminated via online channels and local networks.  The event was a success, as proceeds  exceeded the costs and the event generated a community -building and overall positive reception. Most markedly, the Futsal Cup brought to light IHF, its mission and its programs working in  the marginalized communities we do. Futsal


Bingo NightBali Bingo Night: The Bali Bingo Night was organized by Esther, Jing and Kerri, all Wor
k -Study volunteers and Samir, a one-month voluntourist. Flyers and word-of-mouth across local channels were employed to generate the audience who convened on Friday Night at New Queen’s in Candidasa.
Samir smartly hosted the event, with jokes and anecdotes to entertain the Bingo-enthused crowd. Also here, while funds were generated towards supporting IHF’s programs and intiatives, the lasting impact and awareness was most significant.

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A big thank you to all participating volunteers and centers.

To all incoming, past and present volunteers: we look forward to YOUR  ideas! Once you have arrived at your respective centers, please contact fundraising@ihfonline.org with your ideas so we can help get them realized!



A Farewell from Bali!

by Johanna & Gregor Ottolinger, Co-Directors, IHF Bali

After one year and too many memories to count, it is time for us, our 3-year-old son Damian, and our faithful pup Thor to bid farewell to a place we called and considered home. What made it so was not so much the house nor the wild surroundings of juicy rice fields, lush banana trees, arid volcanoes, and fragrant frangipanis (although that certainly helped!), but rather, the people.


By that, we mean of course first and fore-most the attending children of IHF Buitan, who have – and will always have – a special place in our hearts. We also were lucky to have grown close with  the Buitan communities, both Muslim and Hindu, attending a number of family and community events that have granted us a new appreciation of ceremony and devoutness as an intrinsic and elemental part of everyday life.  We were likewise grateful  to have welcomed a number of exceptional Bali volunteers and sponsors, who brought massive joy to their sponsor children and classes, and whose visits are still mentioned weeks and months afterwards. Many of you we look forward to see again in our homes of Europe and  New York soon.


We held a farewell party for the children and were touched by their sincere gestures of affection and gratitude, demonstrated in part by letters, but also by profusely smearing the cake frosting on our faces! Big mess, great fun!


We’d like to take this opportunity to extend a big thank you to IHF, its volunteers, staff and sponsors, the local community of Buitan and the greater Manggis – Bug Bug area, and a special thanks to the amazing children at IHF for making our experience so rich and unforgettable.   Thank you!

It’s the little things you start to appreciate

by Elisabeth, Work-Study, IHF Nakuru

Coming here I had to slow down – everything was working so much slower than I was used to. Now I can hardly believe that my journey is supposed to be over in already a week! I feel like I should look for the two months, where they had gone, because it feels more like one month at most, that I have been here.


Never the less, looking back I am sure that I have learned very much. It has become normal to me, to shower with a bucket, not having running water, but actually having to shovel it on yourself with a cup, or washing clothes by hand, being amazed how fast they dry because it is so warm. But I have to admit that whenever I can actually flush the toilet or wash my hands under running water I get excited about it and miss it when I don’t have it.

Back home I will miss the people here a lot. Kenyans to me are amazing people: very open and friendly, but for sure sometimes they can be overwhelming, since everybody wants your attention and that you greet them back. I will miss hopping on a motorbike – or PickyPicky like they call it here – to go to town, or small busses – Matatus – just stopping wherever they can to get more people on – and trust me, a Matatu is never full in Kenya!


Most of all the things that have become everyday life to me now, I will miss the hugs, smiling faces, and questions of the children here. I enjoyed being around children all the time. For sure it has not always been easy, but even the harder times have something positive: they taught me how to deal with it and toughen up. I had to learn to live without running water every day, not working power sometimes for a full day, toilets that don’t flush, bucket showers, cooking over a fire every meal, muddy streets when it rains, etc. and I am really grateful I had this chance, because it helps me now, actually appreciate it, to have running water, or a flushing toilet, for example – little things!


I will miss cooking with the children on Saturdays or Sundays, waking up at 5:45am to give a fixed school uniform to one of the children before school, arguing with them whether or not they may use my phone to play games, or if they could make bracelets and necklaces, watching them play soccer or practicing rugby passes with them,… the list is long.

Deep inside I hope the children learned as much from me as I have learned from them.


A relaxing Yoga Class that turned into a cake war

by Esther M., Co-Director, IHF Bali

Last week we had a lot of events going on at the Bali Center. We have a visit from Marta, a Spanish Yoga teacher who was traveling around Bali and was really interested in what the IHF was doing here. After seeing the classes and the center she was amazed so we proposed that she should do a Yoga Masterclass with the kids as many of them are not very familiar with this wonderful practice.

P1050468 (640x527)So we had a groupal Yoga Class with the kids which was everything but relaxing.The kids enjoyed it so much and after we played a game to build words with their own bodies.

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After the exercise we recovered ourselves with a bunch of
snacks, some music and games, the kids loved it! As the former directors Hanna and Greg were going back to Germany we had also a Goodbye Cake for all the kids. What better way to finish the day than with a cake war and everybody’s dirty faces? Even with the sadness of them leaving it was a really fun day!

Indian Festival of Light at IHF Medan

by Lissa, Co-Director, IHF Medan

Last week was a celebration of Diwali (Deepavali) on the Indian neighborhood in Medan. Diwali is similar to New Year for Indian culture. They also mention it as the “Festival of light”. Our Co-Director Aditi invited all the volunteers and me to her house to celebrate Diwali with her family as all of us were very interested to approach ourselves to this part of the Indian culture as we have seen it only in Hindi movies (Bollywood). IMG-20141023-03212

At first when we arrived to her house, we saw Indian decorations everywhere. There were colourful flowers all around the house. We tasted the Indian cuisine which is definitely way different to the Indonesian food. Even Aditi and her husband, Ritesh taught us how to eat the food properly!IMG-20141023-03220

After we have eaten lots of food, The Festival of Lights started. We ignited the candles inside the house and in front of every door in Aditi’s house, then we went outside to make the night more colourful with some fireworks. It was so much fun and a really unforgettable night. We were glad to have enjoyed  a Diwali celebration without even going to India. :)


Paper Planes for the Muslim New Year!

by Timea, Co-Director, IHF Aceh

On Saturday most people in Aceh, including DSC00812almost all our students, were celebrating “Satu Muharram”, the Muslim new year. They wanted to spend this day with their familes relaxing or going to the beach, since the children did not have to go to school. Thus, only 4 students came to the center. We were very happy to have them, though.

We have decided that instead of the regular classes we will do something fun with them. First, we made paper pl  anes and everybody had to decorate their own nicely. After this we had a competition, the children had to aim with their planes at a dart board. They each had five turns. At DSC00792each turn, they could collect or lose points, depending on where they hit the target. It was really fun and they could even practice some Math by adding up their points from round to round.

After this we were making paper ships and decorated them with flags the children drew. Once everyone was done with the ship and the flag, we went to the bathroom and released them on water – we put them in the bathtub and sank them all by throwing marbles at them. This was a lot of fun, everybody enjoyed sinking the ships. Of course, we immediately realised that the ships were completely ruined so we had to make new ones, so the children could take them home.


Tsunami, Tsunami!

by Kerri, Work-Study, IHF Bali

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Two of our students, banging pots and spoons, as loud as they could during afternoon classes signaled to our kids that this wasn’t a typical afternoon. Last week was emergency simulation week!! Although no one wants to think about worst case scenario, we wanted our kids to be prepared if there was ever a fire, earthquake or tsunami, so last week we had a simulation.

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We held two drills on two different days in order to be able to review the information with as many kids as possible. We made lots of noise and gathered everyone in the center to usher them outside and walk them through exactly what they should do and where they should go in the unfortunate case that one of these disasters occurs.

Although the kids were slightly confused by the idea of not having to worry about their shoes, they quickly picked up on what they were supposed to do and everything went smoothly! We even managed to have a bit of fun while pretending.Overall it was a worthwhile exercise that prepared all of us a little bit better on the off chance that one of these worst cases scenarios occur.
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Students Prayer Day before the final exams!

by Valeria, Co-Director, IHF Kenya

When I first came I wanted to know a little bit of how the school system works here and I thought to myself: ‘There is many things I have to learn about this, but I am sure I will know everything soon’ but even now that I am left with two weeks of my stay I get surprised by some of the school events that they celebrate here.


This past Wednesday I went to Nakuru Day Secondary school for Rodger Plilan’s Form 4 Prayer Day. When I first heard of that event a couple of weeks ago I had no idea what I should expect of it, so I asked my local friends what was it about. Their explanation was: It is a day, where parents and students go to school together to pray for the students to pass their final exams (Form 4 is the last exam of high school).

Once I arrived at the school I could already tell that some special event was going to KENYA1take place, since there was a woman at the entrance selling framed good-luck-wishes in all kinds of colors. Matron bought one for Rodgers. Entering the gate we saw picture-booths, very colorful ones. As we entered the main hall I thought I was entering in a catholic church, because on the stage there was a table arranged like an altar and three priests sitting behind it, with three altar servers at the side. 

I usually understand the kind of mass I am used to in the catholic churches in Switzerland, meaning singing from a book, being quiet and listening to the priest, etc, but here it is different. The church “lives” it. The people dance and sing – knowing the songs by heart – but the structure stays the same. I was amazed. I must say that there was one factor though that made everything a little tiring, which was the heat. Even though there were six fans on the ceiling in the building the heat kept coming through the windows and as there were so many people it was too hot inside. 

After the mass, entertainment was next. The young adults performed different things: some of them sang in the choir, others had a kind of role play that is very typical for schools here and some danced. 

The entertainment was followed by the speeches, and I must say, for my taste they were too long, but probably the factor that I did not understand anything because it was all in Kiswahili played a big role there as well. The speeches were about performing well, future plans, what has been achieved so far, etc. I must admit that after two hours of speeches, of which I only understood 15 minutes I was really glad to be able to leave the hot building and go outside to fetch food provided by the school – rice, cabbage, meat, and bananas. It was a really nice meal.KENYA2

That was also when I finally got to see Rodgers, because through the whole ceremony I did not see him – all the students were sitting together in the front. The three of us  (Beffrey, Matron, and I) we went and took a picture with Rodgers at one of the picture-booths and after that we left the school.

I think it is a wonderful thing such a day where students can sit all together and have a good time before starting their final exams.

Never trust a monkey!

by James, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai

While out exploring Northern Thailand, I visited the “Monkey Cave” with some guys I met. We had been out on our bikes for all day, and thought that the cave would be a good place to rest and stretch our legs. So we parked our bikes and began walking around the area. Monkeys were everywhere. They looked nice, and we fed them with IMG_1203some of our snacks. There were two signs that said cave, each pointing in other directions. We headed left, and found ourselves climbing a lot of stairs that went up a mountain. At the top, we went inside a cave and saw a Buddha. To be honest, it wasn’t worth the climb.

After going back down, we saw a monk feeding monkeys and made our way towards the other cave.Thankfully, this did not have any stairs to climb, but it did have a sea of monkeys in front of it. Being the brave one of the group, I led the march towards the cave. I took about five steps and was then hissed at by a monkey. Weird, I thought, but continued on. I was then met by about fifteen to twenty of the little guys. One started scratching at my leg, so I gave it a light nudge with my foot. That was a mistake. The mob of monkeys grew in numbers and started chasing me around the area. I jumped over some roots of a tree and then slipped in some mud. I looked up, and monkeys were just standing there. I’m sure they were laughing on the inside.

I stood up and watched as they all walked off. I looked at my friendsIMG_1243, and they were as confused as I was about what had just happened. “Monkeys are bastards” said John, and I agreed. It was totally not necessary for them to do that. About that time, a monk walked up, who had witnessed the whole thing. He pointed to an imaginary line in the pavement, then made scratching motions and hissing sounds. He looked me over and then laughed. He then walked over and starting feeding the monkeys.

Next time I’m around that many monkeys, I will be on the lookout for that imaginary line. I don’t need to start a turf war with a gang of monkeys again.

English session for the Local Volunteers at IHF Medan

by Aditi, Co-Director, IHF Medan

This week at Medan centre, the English session for the local volunteers, which is part of our teacher training, went on well. The session was held on vocabulary, verbs and communication. Under the verbs section, teachers learned the difference between regular and irregular verbs and how to use them in present and past tense. Role play and games were used during the session and the teachers seemed to enjoy learning. They were enthusiastic and happy. The role play invovled acting out scenes and situations from a day in a foreign country. They conversed in English and performed well. IMG-20141020-WA0007

The classes have been going on regularly. It is nice to see the parents dropping their kids off at our centre for the classes. Their faith in IHF is very encouraging! There was a parent that came to drop off her child. She saw me and was upset when her child did not greet me or the other teacher. She then asked her child to make sure that she always greets elders and teachers!