Komang’s Story

Komang’s Story

When Komang first came to AK about a-year-and- a-half ago he joined a jiu jitsu classes and was lacking in confidence. The first time he came to class, while the other kids were pulling down gis and putting them on, Komang stood back and looked baffled. Geoff Collins, the Akademi Kristus Coach, helped Komang into a gi and they began the class.
It was initially quite frustrating to teach Komang, Geoff would demonstrate a technique and ask if there were any questions, then the class would split into pairs to practice what had been shown. Komang would sit, ready to do the technique but would not move. Geoff would coach him through step by step, while Komang repeatedly expressed ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it’.

Before long, Komang gave up on jiu jitsu and instead joined the arts and crafts and English classes run by Erma Collins. At 12-years-old he was the oldest student and he looked a bit out of place sitting on the small plastic chairs. It didn’t take long for Erma to question if Komang was ok and to notice that he had no confidence. Gently Geoff and Erma spoke with Komang to find out his story. Komang should be in grade three or four but he had never been to school. Komang was illiterate and his lack of confidence stemmed from there.
With a lot of encouragement Erma began to teach him to read and write. Several months later, Akademi Kristus facilitated the enrolment of six students in a private school on a sponsorship program. The school guarantees that students will remain there from grade one to grade six and they provide free uniforms, books, snacks, lunches and a drop-off and pick-up service.

Geoff and Erma arranged with the parents to enrol their child and set a date for everyone to visit the school. They picked up five of the kids and their parents on the day, Komang and his mum were last. When they arrived at their home, Komang was hiding under the bed. It took 30 minutes and a lot of coaxing to get him to visit the school.
When the kids arrived at the school they thought they were at Disneyland. The school has multiple playgrounds, a swimming pool, library, toilets and air conditioners in every class, the children were very excited to begin their education.

All of the students were enrolled in grade one, Komang still looks a bit out of place, being several years older and much taller than all of his class mates, but Komang has come alive. The opportunity to go to school, as all kids deserve, has brought out the best in him.

After just 3 days of school, when the kids came to AK for their regular class, Erma said ‘Wow, they have changed, there is much less fighting’. Now, several weeks on, Komang is a new man. He greets people with confidence. He holds his head high. The team at Akademi Kristus can’t help smiling when we think of the future all six of these kids have now and how different it would have been if AK hadn’t been there, changing lives and bringing hope.

Visitor report: Kimberley Waters

The tiles are cool. A stark comparison to the sweltering, humid stillness of the air outside.
I lower myself to the ground and quietly take in my surroundings, much further outside my comfort zone that I’ve ever been before.
It’s heartbreakingly basic.
Two rooms, a porch and an outdoor kitchen on a dirt floor.
With proper walls, a floor and a roof, this family is fortunate compared to most.
From the dubious comfort of a thin mattress on the ground an older man reaches for my hand.
He’d get up to greet me, but a recent stroke has left his body paralysed.
A proud man, the head of a household, robbed of his ability to work and provide for his family.
Starvation is mentioned, and I’m so confronted that I can’t make sense of the jumbled thoughts in my head.
In the heart of a Balinese slum, I experience the most humbling moment of my life.
I kneel beside this man, a privileged westerner having the time of her life on a holiday in Bali, and he softly asks me to pray for him.
He wants to work. He doesn’t want his family to starve. There’s no government assistance and prayer is his only option.
My heart shatters into a million pieces.
Choking back tears I pray for healing, that God would bless this man and his family and restore his health.
The whole time I’m grappling with guilt – I don’t deserve the comfortable life I was fortunate to be born into any more than this man and his family. Why me? Why them?
I join Akademi Kristus director Geoff Collins on a walk through the rest of the slum.
The land itself is picturesque and lush.
Worn paths lead to each family home, open dirt-floored structures built with easy-to-find materials.
There’s no electricity or running water.
When it rains, they get wet.
When it floods, they get wetter.
Goats wander around looking for food, and family members mill about chopping vegetables, holding babies, and boiling water over a fire.
A toddler sits out in the open in a bucket, having a bath.
Children run about playing, happy and carefree despite their poverty.
As Geoff chats and jokes in fluent Indonesian I watch on, questions circling in my mind.
How do you raise a family without electricity? Without walls? Without running water? Without proper beds? Without a washing machine? Without a car? Without doors that lock for safety?
Making do without. It’s not a concept I’m familiar with.
But these people survive.
At Akademi Kristus, we also want them to thrive.
I became a member of the AK project management team in 2016.
Having studied Indonesian at university, and with media skills that could be put to good use, it seemed like the perfect charity to get involved in.
I always believed in our mission – to foster hope and empower Indonesian communities through real relationships and the delivery of martial arts, education and creative arts.
But after spending times in those slums, and meeting the kids and the families we’re working with?
Our mission is now a part of me in a way that it wasn’t before.
These families don’t need my guilt, or even my sympathy. They need my action.
A short drive away from the slums (referred to as the kampung or local village), in a van loaded with kids we picked up on our walk, is the AK community hub.
A place where everyone is welcome, accepted, encouraged and offered opportunities to learn.
I have the pleasure of assisting Geoff’s wife Erma with an art class while Geoff is instructing a gruelling BJJ session on the mat nearby.
Back at the kampung a specialist educator arrives to spend time teaching AK’s students with disabilities.
These youth aren’t mobile and are therefore confined to their homes in the slum, often left alone without stimulation or care during the day while family members work.
Thrown in the deep end, it’s an exhausting but amazing afternoon.
That’s kind of how Geoff, Erma and their three wonderful daughters do everything.
All in, flat out, crazy, selfless, fun and full of love.
It’s inspirational to watch, and humbling to be part of.
With all my heart I believe the encouragement, leadership, self-worth, skills and confidence these kids gain from attending AK will one day empower them out of the cycle of poverty.
To me, that’s a mission worth supporting.

February Month of Giving Campaign: Meals for our Students

Akademi Kristus programs require a lot of our energy from the children and young people who attend our classes. Many of our participants’ families are living in extreme poverty surviving on less than US$2 per day, leaving little to no money for meals. Providing our students with well-balanced  meals is critical to ensuring they can learn, play and train. For $20 per week we provide meals to the children living in the slum areas when they attend classes at the AK Sanur Hub. We hope to be able to increase the frequency of the meals and also provide food packs to the families to ensure they have nourishing meals throughout the week. If you would like to make a one off donation or sponsor regular meals click on the link below.

Please note all donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

Donate now

February Month of Giving Campaign: Ni Luh’s story

This is Ni Luh, she is having an amazing time in this photo thanks to the AK staff and volunteers who took her and a bunch of her friends swimming! Ni Luh has an undiagnosed cerebral palsy- type condition. She cannot walk and is unable to communicate verbally. For a long time Ni Luh was not engaged in meaningful activity and would spend her days lying on the floor not talking to anyone. But since Akademi Kristus started delivering disability education classes in the slum area near her house she has become much more engaged. Ni Luh looks forward to the education classes each week and lights up when the teachers arrive. Ni Luh’s father has had a stroke and is paralysed down the left side of his body. As her mother needs to work to support the family, Ni Luh and her father are often left alone in the house. Due to his stroke Ni Luh’s father is unable to provide her with personal care, including assistance toileting, as such her living conditions are challenging and she really values the time our disability educators spend with her. Ni Luh is very proud to be receiving education.

If you would like to support the specialist disability education that Akademi Kristus provides we invite you to become a monthly donor. For $40 per month you can support children like Ni Luh to receive life changing education.

Please note all donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

Donate now


February Month of Giving Campaign: art classes

Art and creativity is a core element of children’s development. It allows them to explore, create and express themselves. Akademi Kristus delivers creative arts classes to the children from the slum and local area. Our arts classes are invaluable to the participants who come from impoverished background and have no other access to arts and craft. Just $20 per month purchases arts and craft materials that enable us to provide these beautiful opportunities for self-expression and creative fun. If you would like to make a one off donation or sponsor regular arts classes click on the donate link below.
Please note all donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

Donate now

February Month of Giving Campaign: Erma’s story

Erma Collins is our beloved teacher at Akademi Kristus. She spends time with local children from the slum teaching them valuable literacy and numeracy skills. Erma also teaches English to the children. Many of the children attending Akademi Kristus can’t afford to attend school, so learning basic numeracy, bahasa(Indonesian) and English is critical to their development and is the key to them finding employment in the future and breaking the cycle of poverty.

AK  currently delivers three education classes per week, but we hope to increase this to daily classes for longer periods of time so that we can work more closely with the children to develop these key skills.

If you would like to support our education program we invite you to become a monthly donor. For just $40 per month you can support children to receive life changing education.

You can become a monthly donor by clicking on the donate link below.

Please note all donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

Donate now

February Month of Giving Campaign: Specialist Disability Education classes

Akademi Kristus funds specialist disability teachers to work with children with disability that are living in government housing next to the slum area.
Through our programs children with disability are developing stronger communication and motor skills and we are changing the way that families interact with their children. One mum commented “I thought that because his body didn’t work, his brain didn’t either… but now I know he is smart.”
Akademi Kristus is working alongside disability educators to change the cultural understanding of disability in local Balinese communities.
Disability classes cost only $30 per week to provide a two hour class to five children and youth with disability. We hope to increase the frequency of classes to two to three times per week to further support the development of these young people.
If you would like to make a one off donation or sponsor regular classes click on the “donate now” link below.

Donate now

February Month of Giving Campaign: Geoff’s story

Geoff is our incredibly passionate, hardworking and dedicated Operations Leader and Jiu Jitsu Coach at Akademi Kristus. Together with his wife Erma and three daughters, Chloe, Kelly and Kasey, he serves the kids from the slum and the local area.

Geoff teaches jiu jitsu and boxing but more importantly, through the development of real relationships with the kids, he also instills confidence, builds self value, encourages respect and provides opportunities for leadership.

Geoff is an incredible role model for the children teaching them that through hard work and dedication that they can achieve their goals. The lessons they learn on the mat are just the beginning to them achieving their lifelong goals.

Just $10 allows Akademi Kristus to deliver one jiu jitsu class to up to 15 children.

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February Month of Giving Campaign: Theja’s story

This is Theja, Theja is one of the older participants attending Akademi Kristus at age 27. Theja is a personal trainer at a hotel in Bali and loves his training sessions at Akademi Kristus. When we asked him why, this is what he said”

“AK is not only a place to train. At AK we’re equal, not rich or poor, not black or white, we are all family. In AK we train, we learn how to be a better person by helping each other, taking care of each other. Ak is like my second home, I love AK so much.”

Theja has become a leader amongst his peers and is a great role model for the younger children at AK. Since beginning training at AK Theja has quit smoking and is always on hand to help out when there is need.

“I hope AK will be the biggest community in Bali. I hope more people come and feel what I feel and make AK a second home for them.”

If you would like to support students like Theja to attend our programs we invite you to become a monthly donor. For just $40 per month you can support children and young people to enjoy a safe and secure community hub that fosters hope and empowers Indonesian youth and their families.

Donate now

February Month of Giving Campaign: Ayu’s story

We’re starting our February Month of Giving Campaign with a story about one of our much-loved AK participants, Ayu. Ayu lives in disability housing next to the slum in Sanur Bali. Her parents have six children. Her two older brothers, Wayan (24) and Komang (22), as well as Ayu herself have cerebral palsy, a disability which means that Ayu has difficulty communicating and walking. Until Akademi Kristus came into the kampung, Ayu and her brothers had very little stimulation in their lives. Akademi Kristus now funds specialist disability teachers to work Ayu, Wayan, Komang and other children with disabilities from two other families. Along with working on developing communication skills, language skills and improving fine motor skills, we’re also helping the local neighbourhood to recognise that these kids are of value and capable of learning. Ayu’s family hope that one day they will see Ayu walking unassisted. If you would like to support children to access the specialist disability education that Akademi Kristus provides we invite you to become a monthly donor. For $40 per month you can support children like Ayu to receive life changing education. You can become a monthly member by clicking on the donate tab on our homepage. Please note all donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.