Mission Outreach: Taking a Student Mindset to the Global Leadership Retreat in Bali

Two of the core values of Girls in Tech are education and valuing diverse cultures. In fact, our global footprint is one of the things that make us unique.

That’s why once a year, we host a global leadership retreat for the Managing Directors and Board Members. The intention? Come together to learn from, and about each other.

This year over 20 women gathered in Bali, Indonesia. Local leadership from all over the globe came to represent Australia, Bolivia, Canada, France, Ireland, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and the United States.

Each of the five days was an invitation to embrace a student mindset. We bonded over learning self-care techniques like gratitude journaling and yoga. While bicycling in rice paddies, we developed new community-building methods to bring back to our chapters. We learned to better understand the unique local challenges and opportunities we face during leadership workshops. Last but not least, we talked – and laughed – about the state of women in tech today over meals.

Getting into the Community at the Sari Hati School and KIM Women’s Centre

We also had the incredible opportunity to visit the Sari Hati School and KIM Women’s Centre in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. The Sari Hati School is a female-founded nonprofit for special needs children and young adults with mild to severe mental and physical disabilities.

The KIM Women’s Centre is a catering nonprofit that promotes female empowerment and gender equality for local women and girls. They do that through job skills training like sewing and cooking.

At the heart of both nonprofits is the very same intention that we at Girls in Tech share – to use education as the ultimate vehicle of empowerment.

We arrived for dinner at about 7 pm and were treated to a personal tour of the Sari Hati School.

From the art studio that also serves as a music and yoga studio, to the kitchen, to the sensory music and aromatherapy room and outdoor garden, to the computer room hosting two machines, it is clear to see how much care and attention are given here. In fact, many of the drivers that pick students up for school pull double duty as teachers.

It was during the tour that we learned the true impact of the Sari Hati School and KIM Women’s Centre.

For five years, they have been creating a safe place for underserved local community members by teaching them skills with which they can sustain themselves, as well as self-care for a healthy, happy mind.

They are the only place in their community like this. But their value isn’t only for their students and members, it is for the greater community.

“We’re also helping parents learn how to be with their kids better,” said Sari Pollen, Founder of the KIM Women’s Centre and Director of the Sari Hati School. “How to work with them, and even love them more. Special needs are more special than we are.”

Women, Education and Employment by the Stats

According to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities Indonesia’s Women and Girls in Indonesia: Progress and Challenges Report (2015), even though gender parity has slowly improved since the 1970’s, it is far from being a reality.

“More recently, in 2011, the gender gap in the field of education did narrow, although gender inequality continues to persist in the areas of employment and the decision-making processes in legislative agencies. By looking at the low figures of GPI (Gender Parity Index) in employment and public decision-making, which was 36.6 percent and 18.4 percent 12 respectively, it is clear that gender equality is far from having been achieved.” (p. 3)

“Three factors might influence the variability of the GPI (Gender Parity Index) condition: early marriage, the existence of a high school facilities and labour market opportunities that had opened up for the younger population…Enhancing the chance for females to stay in school raises their income-earning capacity as they reach adulthood, thereby enabling them to find employment in the country rather than migrating for work, as well as earn higher salaries should they decide to stay in Indonesia.” (p. 43)

How to Donate with PayPal, Cryptocurrency, or Credit Card

One of the main struggles the Sari Hati School and KIM Women’s Centre are facing is paying rent. Others are getting computers, building a greenhouse and outfitting the kitchen with more grills for culinary job training classes.

They have been doing life-changing work for the past five years by mainly sustaining themselves with the catering business for visitors like Girls in Tech and making up the rest through charitable contributions. But now the next five years’ rent is due in two months and they are scraping together every cent they have.

We wanted to do our part in honoring their work and pass it on.

If you’d like to support the Sari Hati School through Paypal, or even cryptocurrency, you can donate here. You can also email them for other in-kind donation offers or to schedule a visit if you’re in Bali! You can find the Sari Hati School on Facebook here.

If you’d like to support the KIM Women’s Centre, you can donate here. You can find the KIM Women’s Centre on Facebook here or contact them to view the menu and schedule catering here!

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Want to learn more about Managing Directors?

We’re always looking to expand the Girls in Tech community around the world. If you’re interested in learning more about the volunteer leadership position of Managing Director, you can read more here!