On 23 September, YKIP hosted a gathering for both current and former scholarship beneficiaries of KIDS (Kuta International Disaster Scholarship) Program at Istana Taman Jepun in Denpasar. The 5-yearly event initially planned to be conducted in 2021 finally resumed this year after the government lifted the pandemic-related restrictions.
In contrast to previous gatherings, which included parents of the beneficiaries, this year’s occasion exclusively invited the scholarship recipients. With this, YKIP hoped to let the beneficiaries get to know each other better, have a fun time together, and also share their after-graduation stories to inspire others.
In addition to inviting the beneficiaries, YKIP also welcomed several distinguished guests. This including Rucina Ballinger, formerly the Director of the YKIP Foundation and Mark Keatinge, a volunteer who helped to establish KIDS Scholarship Program. YKIP also invited Sara Pramana, Vivie Maya Sovianti, and Nur Vitria, the volunteers in the beginning of the scholarship program. What is more, YKIP was delighted to have two KIDS alumni, despite residing in Java, made the effort to fly to Bali to join us for this special gathering.
During the initial segment of the gathering, Sara, Vitri, and Vivie shared their stories of how the KIDS scholarship program was initiated and established. At that time, the founder of the KIDS Foundation sought avenues to help the tragic Bali bombing victims. Upon meeting the victims’ spouses, it became clear that what was most urgently required was educational support for their children. The KIDS team started a mission to collect the children’s data and initiated fundraising efforts for their education needs. The KIDS Foundation was committed to ensuring that every one of these children had the opportunity to pursue higher education.
During the gathering, Mark Keating shared a moving story about a group of American elementary school students who took the initiative and raised a remarkable sum of USD 5,000 through their annual calendar sale for the victims in Bali. The students sent the funds to him. Upon connecting with Sara, Rucina, and the rest of the team, decided to allocate this generous contribution to the KIDS program as the very first donation for the scholarship.
This also initiated a meaningful collaboration between the KIDS Foundation and YKIP. Under this partnership, KIDS focused on the operational aspects of supporting the scholarship beneficiaries, while YKIP’s role revolved around fundraising efforts. This fruitful collaboration continued until 2013 when the KIDS Foundation was dissolved. At that point, YKIP assumed full responsibility for the KIDS program and continued the commitment to uphold its mission.
During the latter part of the gathering, the scholarship beneficiaries shared their life stories. It was an emotionally moving moment where they recounted their memories, reflecting on the impact of the disaster, their commitment to education and their resilience. We would be honoured to share some of these remarkable stories with you.
Alifia, the eldest among YKIP’s scholarship beneficiaries, shared a chapter from his life. She revealed, “I was in the middle of my third semester at Brawijaya University when my world was shaken by the passing of my father. He had been the primary breadwinner of the family, while my mother worked as a tailor. I was desperate as I thought I might not be able to continue my studies. I was also worried about my younger brother, who was in senior high school at that time. I was thinking of dropping out and finding work to support my mother. But then my brother and I received a scholarship from KIDS. Made it possible for us to finish our studies. I am grateful for all the support extended by KIDS and YKIP. Now, I am a math teacher in a senior high school in Panji.”
Rai, the second child of three sisters shared her journey, “When my father passed away, my mother was really worried about our education. She knew well that education was extremely important for our future. However, the situation made her struggling to provide a quality education for her three daughters. She was so desperate, contemplating the difficult decision of sending us to an orphanage in hopes of ensuring our education. I, myself, had my personal challenges back then; I had learning difficulties — that might have been linked to the trauma I got from the tragedy. Fortunately, we got tremendous support from KIDS. Not only did they cover our tuition fees, but they also helped create cherished memories for us. The first birthday celebration in our family was organized by KIDS, alongside other students at that time.” Rai is now a registered nurse in an aesthetic and dermatologist clinic.
Idat, now a UI-UX designer, opened up about his personal journey, “I don’t have vivid memories about the tragedy itself. I was quite young at that time, unable to fully understand what had happened. My mother chose not to disclose the bitter truth about my father, who was killed in the terrorist attack, until when I was in elementary school. I didn’t experience profound sadness at that time because my mother’s strength made it easier for me to let go. YKIP organized the gathering every year, and I attended a gathering that was organized by YKIP. In those moments, I never felt sorrow. Instead, I found happiness because I could see my fellow beneficiaries. I knew that we were victims of a tragic incident, but YKIP and KIDS made us realize that we didn’t need to be consumed by sadness. They encouraged us to move forward and find happiness to face this life.”
The gathering with KIDS beneficiaries provided us with valuable insights into their lives. Their stories inspire us, motivating us to strive for a brighter future. Thank you to everyone who attended the event. We look forward to coming together once again at future gatherings. Until next time!