Catching Up With Aceh

By: Sahat, Co-Director Aceh

We have a new co-director at our center!  His name is Tony and he is from India. We are happy to have him at the center. The children love to hear about Bollywood stars; actresses and actors DSCN3449from India. They also have many questions for Tony about food and traditional clothing from India. The parents love talking to him and sharing Indonesian culture with him. We went out to see a festival night market with the local teachers and we let Tony try some different foods. We had so much fun! This week we also got a visitor named Doris from China. She was a volunteer at the IHF Aceh center a few years ago. She is traveling with her mom, so they stopped by the center.  The teachers and students like talking to her and we all took DSCN3347photos together.

One of wonderful local teachers, Ms Riska, is teaching math for SD1 students at this time. She loves teaching math for young learners. Before, she was teaching older learners at the center. The children are fond of learning about math and English, and they are very active in the classroom. We have started holding a short fun quiz at the end of each lesson. Whoever can answer the question gets to go home first. Everyone gets excited to answer and participate in the quiz. Riska is a super friendly teacher, and she is a great help to us. Not to mention that the children really like her!

DSCN3383This week, we held a workshop about making flowers from banana branches. The materials we used were papers and many paint colors. We divided the students into two sessions, SD2 and SD3, and SD5 and SD6. There were about 20 students who joined in this workshop. Everyone was asked to make two pieces of paper with flowers drawn on them.

We also held a cleaning day at the center. We started cleaning from the inside of the center, including the classrooms, living room, kitchen, and yard. Everyone participated in this activity and they were so helpful! We also decorated a stage that we want to use for the upcoming celebration of the 17th of August. Students, teachers, and co-directors all helped!


Adapting to IHF Bali

By:  Anabel, Voluntourist Bali

My name is Anabel, I’m from Barcelona and I’ve been a voluntourist in IHF center in Bali for two weeks.  The first week passed quickly, just getting used to the house, the other volunteers, the co-directors and the kids.
At the beginning, everything was strange and not great in the center. Children are all from different ages, have different interests and difficult names that seemed impossible for me to learn. In addition, it was raining during the first days so it was dark by 6 pm. I was with seven other volunteers and felt that there was not much to do.However, same as the weather, things brightened up. In a few days I got used to my new room and shared spaces in the house, the food and my colleagues. Also, I started to feel less scared of the Balinese creatures living in the garden and around, such as the geckos. Most of the children came often to the center and I learned some of their names and ages. I realized that the children like painting and playing cards, while the teenagers prefer staying around by themselves. All of them like making shapes with paper, something that my Chinese colleagues were very good at and could teach them.

Regarding the English classes, I became more comfortable after the first one. At the beginning I had only two classes with same group each week. Fortunately, in my second week I had the opportunity to do some classes with other groups, as one of the co-directors was gone and also I assisted in the computer classes. The more I was with the kids, the more ideas of games and activities came to my mind.  Also I felt that they were more comfortable to see me around and some even knew my name.  It was a very rewarding experience.

When I was starting to have a daily routine in IHF in Bali, it was time to leave. I wish to have stayed longer to spend more time with the children and know more about them and their lives.  I think IHF is doing a great job in Bali and I’m happy to have been part of it at least for a few weeks!


Saying Goodbye to Jakarta

By:  Jeanne, Work-Study Jakarta

I have now reached the end of my four week volunteering trip with IHF in Jakarta. Firstly, I have to say that the time here went really fast, Blog2so you have to enjoy each precious moment. All the time you spend teaching and playing with the children is wonderful; like the time spent with the all the other volunteers.

A usual week here is divided into teaching, welcoming and playing with the students, and we also have our online team work to do. Every day we have our lovely Ibu who comes to take care of the center, and cook delicious Indonesian food for us. During the evening, we have Blog3free time to share our dinner, and hang out with the local volunteers. In one month here, you really learn about Indonesian culture. And I have to say that Indonesians, without exception, are the nicest people I have ever met. They will always help you, and envelope you in their culture.


I think I just would love to stay more than four weeks, it was too fast, and I am going to really miss all the people here.


Challenging and Beautiful Kenya

By: Song, Voluntourist Kenya

My name is Song, and I’m a volunteer from UNNC.  I came to Nakuru six days ago, and in these days I have learned that their living environment is very hard and I would like to try my best to help them.  The children here are smart and adorable and some of them work IMG_4901 (1)very hard in school.  They also play hard.  You can always find them playing soccer and competing against each other.  They love soccer very much and in fact, they are great players.

The first day I arrived here, I couldn’t believe that this was going to be the place that I would spend two weeks at.  I wasn’t very used to their meals.  However I have convinced myself to adapt to the environment and I won’t give up easily just yet.  This is my own choice and I should have mentally prepared myself better.  In the recent days, I have


started to feel attached to the kids and we have had interesting conversations every day on the playground, during lunch time, or after dark.  When they are doing their homework, I also assist them with problems they are not sure about, like mathematics, English and physics.  Every evening, I prepare food ingredients for the next day with the other volunteers.  At night, I sometimes play movies for the children.  They are very excited about action movies.  I feel a sense of accomplishment when I see their lovely smiles and I always try to think of something fun to do with them.

This has been a very rewarding and meaningful experience for me.  It makes me realize to be grateful for what I have, and to grow from challenges. The experience I had here could never be obtained from a textbook.  I am glad that I made the decision to come to Kenya.

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Taking a Break in Penang!

By:  Letizia, Co-Director Medan

Last week in Medan was quite nice and quiet, like usual, however I didin’t see so much of what happened in Medan because I was on my long weekend in Penang, Malaysia!  IMG_20160801_134620The kids at the center celebrated the birthday of one of our SMA students, Atin, with a giant Jack fruit and a lot of fun for everybody… Unfortunately I wasn’t there to party with them, but I saw the pictures and it looked like a lot of fun!I would like to share about Penang Island, it is a very nice place to visit with a lot of jungle and interesting travelers passing through.  Living in Medan is nice because, even if the city doesn’t have amazing things like Bali does, we are very close to many beautiful areas and is not so expensive to go to visit them.
In Penang I spent my days in a nice and quiet hostel in George Town, an ex-colonial city with a lot of history and culture along its roads.  The Indian neighborhood is very nice, called Little India and marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the colors, sounds, and smells take you directly to that magical and fantastic country.

Outside the city there are many beaches and national parks that let the visitor enjoy a more natural and relaxing atmosphere.  I highly suggest the national park near Teluk Behang village, with its nice trekking walk through the jungle and close to the sea.


Bonding in Bali

By:  Connie Ma, Voluntourist Bali

Bali center is a place that hides many wonderful surprises. Before my arrival at Bali I’ve thought about all tough scenarios I may come across, however the real Bali is so much different from what I imagined.

FullSizeRenderIt is located in a small village of Buitan, Candidasa. I fell in love with it right away after my arrival, I love the fresh air, the tender weather, the sea waves… All of these made me feel relaxed and peaceful in my heart. More importantly, the kind people! Everyone is so nice here and they are always ready to help you, with a warm heartfelt smile. There are two main buildings in the center, both of which are carefully decorated with children’s work!

At beginning I was nervous because I was not sure if I would do well and whether the kids would like me or not. It turned out to be a relief, what the children really want is that we spend time with them! They are happy that we are here playing with them, chatting with them, talking about new things strange to them, caring for them, and that’s all that matters.  The more I get along with them, the more I want to get involved with them.

The first week mostly was special activities, which gave me the opportunity to get familiar IMG_4430with the new environment and to know each student. I was surprised by the kids. They are artists, and they are really good at drawing and handicrafts.The kids are quick learners, they learn new stuff in a very quick manner and they even did a better job than volunteers! I have to say that they gave me more than I gave them, and I do appreciate that. They have the most beautiful eyes in the world, through which I can feel their understanding, simple satisfaction and eagerness for knowledge.

Another thing I would like to mention is that I made some new friends here, that’s a big fortune for me personally! Volunteering has been far more than doing a good deed, it was an eye-opening experience that helped me look at the world from a whole different perspective. I’m very thankful for those who made my volunteering in Bali possible, and those who made my volunteering period so much fun and memorable!


Crafting with Shells

By: Riska, Local Teacher Aceh

Halo everyone!

I am going to share with you our art activity this week at the center.  We held an art class with our SD5 students and with a new teacher named Nisa.  Actually, we were looking for some inspiration to create something with shells, and we certainly found a great idea to use these materials.  We also needed plywood, paint colors, and hot glue.  We divided the students into two groups, the girls made flowers and the boys made a starfish.  We timeDSCN2801 the groups and they each had a leader for their group.  It was like a competition!

At first, we had prepared the plywood in different sizes. Then, we put hot glue on top of shells and sticks, and placed them on the wood. The shells were placed to follow the size of the pictures that we wanted.  We needed to make sure that the glue was hot and held strong. Then, we put different colors on the cover of the shells, to make it more visually interesting. We did this using the paint colors.  There were four teachers helping, and also a co-director.

Finally, we could make the handicraft with the shells.  We took pictures with the crafts and loved all the shell crafts very much. I felt good about this project!  The children have great art skills. Not just great ideas but also great pictures and they are great at sharing.  They did so well!  Even for the boys’ group, who struggled at first to handle the work, ended up doing well. They are all so talented and inspiring.


Indonesia Indah (Beautiful Indonesia)

By ZheWei (IHF, Jakarta Work-Study)

After working at IHF for more than a month, I was able to take a few days off to explore the country.  I wanted to visit somewhere that was relatively close to Jakarta, yet far enough for me to get a different taste of Indonesia.  So, on a quiet Thursday morning, I hopped on a flight bound for the historic city of Yogyakarta, also known as, Jogja.

GunungMerapiOn the first day, I visited Gunung Merapi.  The towering volcano was set in a lush green landscape.  Its peak was flanked by clouds most of the time.  We were told that on some days, one can even see plumes of smoke rising from the caldera.  I visited some of the surrounding landscapes, and a house that was destroyed by the pyroclastic flow from one of the recent eruptions.  The dire state of the house was a reminder of how powerful the force of nature could be.

The following morning, I went on a tour of some of the historic sites in Jogja.  I visited the Borobudur temple, which is the largest Buddhist temple in the world.  Walking around each of the nine layers of the temple in the early morning gave me a sense of tranquility – a breath of fresh air after the hustle and bustle of Jakarta.  I watched as the sun rose behind curtains of mist.  And as the mist slowly fell away, I looked in awe as the magnificent Borobudur was bathed in sunlight.  It was a mystical experience.

After that, I visited the Prambanan temples, which was also built in the 9th century.  The site of the Prambanan temples hosts a number of individual monuments, nestled in the midst of some of the temple ruins.  The relief panels on the main temple depict scenes from the Ramayana, an ancient Hindu epic poem.  Having studied this text in school before, I was delighted to be able to recognize some of the scenes from the story as I wandered around the temple complex.  It was wonderful to see the scenes from such a culturally significant text brought to life on the walls of this beautiful Hindu temple.

My final stop for the trip was Goa Jomblang.  To get into the cave, visitors have to be strapped to a harness and manually lowered down a 60m drop. The journey was exhilarating.  Around midday, sunlight filtered down into the cave and illuminated the inside with streaks of bright light.  There was an underground river flowing below us and the dappled surfaces of the limestone rocks reminded me of coral reefs.  The feeling was out of this world.

The best thing about Jogja was it’s lovely mix of history and nature.  On one hand there are the beautiful Borobudur and Prambanan temples from the 9th century, on the other, there is the towering volcano, Gunung Merapi and the beautiful caves, Goa Jomblang and Goa Pindul.


Visiting Jogja has opened my eyes to some of the wonders that Indonesia has to offer. I am glad that I decided to work with the IHF this summer. Otherwise, I would not have come to know the beauty that is Indonesia.

Kenya: First Impressions

By: Cao Yaqing, Work-Study Kenya

I have been in the center for four days. First I took one day to recover from the 24-hour-Blog3flight, and then I started to work. Aggie and Edita, the co-directors here, gave a tour of the center for me. There are several little houses in the Center. The work-study volunteers, voluntourists and Edita live in the same hall, little girls and bigger girls live in another, and boys, Aggie and Isabel live in the one nearest to our neighbor. We also have two fields, and staff plant corn, kale, cabbage and tomatoes on them. When I arrived there are some rabbits too. But we decide to kill them all but one (a pet for Manuel).

Things are both better and worse than I expected. Recently we have a severe shortage of water. We were using water from several big tanks. However, we have good sanitation. The staff clean the floors and tables every morning. And the bed sheets are very clean.

Blog2Our former director, Julie, left this Saturday. And all of the staffs gathered giving her a farewell party. Kids all wrote the words they want to say to her. And it’s so sweet to see the childish handwriting and little heart symbols.

The kids here, is another thing that shocked me. They have really good behavior and mature thoughts. I talked with them a lot. The secondary school students always know what they want to do and are working to achieve it. The primary school students, they are playful as usual kids, but at the same time, when I talked to them, I can’t see a difference between them and me.


Making a Difference in Paradise

By:  Paula, Voluntourist Bali

It’s hard to put into words what this experience has meant to me.

Two girls in Zaragoza set out to spend a month away from home, discovering a new culture, a new way of living. Although the first day of volunteering was a bit harsh, it is amazing how quickly you adapt to a lifestyle completely different from your own. Perhaps because one of the best things about this experience is sharing it with people from other parts of the world, being able to support each other and being able to face all the challenges with a smile.

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset It is precisely these smiles that the children of Kampung Buitan never lose. This village is a poor area of Bali paradise where, despite not having the facilities or some opportunities like ours, people manage to find happiness in the simplest things.We came here to teach children, and yet, we have learned values from them and an ability to overcome each day that you hardly see in our comfortable developed world.

The tasks done in the center are of vital importance, since it is responsible for providing a more consolidated education to children in a country where the education system has many faults. It is essential to provide the younger generation with a solid base on which to build a future, and maybe they will be able to change the fate of many of their families. This is why I think the role performed by the International Humanity Foundation will make a significant difference in the lives of these children.
Bali is, in all respects, a paradise both for its scenery and the people living here, always willing to help with the prevailing philosophy of Hinduism. What caught my attention most was that all their actions are based on the Karma, they help the person next to them and with an admirable consistency. Without a doubt, kindness is inherent in all of them.

Life in the center has also allowed me to meet people from other cultures, namely China, the United States and India. I’m sure that, without that mutual support, this experience would not have been the same. We really have many anecdotes, moments of laughter, and collaboration as we prepare lessons and activities for the next day. And also some desperation while trying to guess what kind of animal made the noise that everyone heard while we were sleeping the night before.  Although we have gotten used to that too.

Surely, from this intense month I take friends, experiences and stories to tell but, above all, I take a new part of me that I’ve gotten to know and hope to keep on knowing in new projects. Projects that I hope to make such an important part of me as this has.

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