Cempaka Putih Projects

The Piggy Project in the Jakarta Post

Check out our write up in the Jakart Post today! Page 22 ;-)
Yay, Gede!

Jakarta Post 2014-02-13

Gede and the Piggy Project in the Jakarta Post

One Village, One Teacher

Cempaka Putih Foundation English Program

Kids After Class in Songan Village

Cempaka Putih Foundation is looking for sponsors for our “Satu Desa, Satu Guru,” or “One Village, One Teacher” English Program!

It is our goal to hire one permanent local English teacher, to guide classes and work with native English speaking volunteers  for each of the 72 villages in the Bangli regency.

By reaching out to each village, we hope to give as many children as possible a chance to learn the language skills they need for a brighter future.

We are looking for 72 individual, group, or corporate sponsors,  to each fund one teacher, at 9,600,000 IDR per year. (Approximately $850 USD at the current exchange rate).

We are open to suggestions, and would love to talk to any interested sponsors, coordinators, and/or volunteers

Please use our Contact Form to get in touch with Gede, or call him directly at +62-818-552669, for more information.

Rumah Belajar Scott Thompson!

Opening Ceremony

Gede Speaks the the Opening Ceremony for the New
Scott Thompson Rumah Belajar

Thank you YCAB and Berlari Terus for your support and cooperation in getting the Rumah Belejar Scott Thomsom program for computer learning up and running in Toya Bunkah!

See more photos from the opening ceremony on our facebook page.

Watch Gede’s TEDx Ubud Speech!

Recorded at TEDxUbud on May 6th, 2011, at Gaya Fusion.

Up to now & Up to you!

Hands up and jump for joy!


Recently I had the privilege to spend some time on the island of the gods – Bali! As always, no visit would be complete without catching up with Gede, and talking about the Cempaka Putih Foundation’s important work to liberate the people of the poverty stricken Bangli region, through education, micro business development, housing and fundraising projects.

Up to now, much work has been done for which I have to commend Gede and his volunteers: The weekly supper club, sponsored by Paul and Hannah Paine, managed to raise much needed funds and awareness in the expatriate community of Ubud.  While patrons at Warung Wild Ginger feasted on the filling culinary decadence and comfort of South African cuisine, Hannah enjoyed sharing her talents and love for cooking and entertaining, while supporting a good cause.  We all await the return of this inspiring couple who opened their big hearts and gave so generously.

Hannah's Supper Club!


Furthermore, and by invitation, Gede had the daunting task to deliver a speech at the Tedex conference held in Ubud. It’s certainly easier to do the job than to talk about doing it! Besides his apprehensiveness and modesty, he was able to talk the talk, as he certainly walks the walk as well. Passion and compassion are the two main ingredients needed to bring relief and growth, and move towards a more sustainable and prosperous future. His message and mission, I believe, harvested new supporters for the foundation, which will insure the survival and success of our ongoing and future projects.

Speaking of the future, Gede’s dream is to raise funds and build a school. Unfortunately the classrooms of the local school in Bangli are no longer available for the English Learning program. Gede has temporarily turned his own restaurant into a classroom for the children to get their weekly English lesson. However, a new community building would be far better suited to the task. With support and donations it is not such a farfetched idea at all. What he really needs is an investor or some fundraising genius to come up with a concept that can materialize this vision of our own school building. Anybody reading this who feels they can contribute, please do not hesitate to contact us and make a difference in the world today.
I also had time to give the angels of Kintamani an English lesson. Playing games and combining a few origami tricks, I entertained and educated them while having fun, as two hours flew by. I only regret not personally meeting up with Hazel, from Scotland, who unselfishly volunteers her services as an educator on Sundays. The students are really improving and also enjoy her Scottish accent and cheerful attitude.

Gede delivering his speach.

As I flew back to Jakarta, the city where I now reside, I realized that life is really up to you. “Up to you” is an expression you often hear in Indonesia.  If you want to go somewhere, or do something or change something it is really up to you. Up to now the Cempaka Putih foundation has achieved a lot, what highlights it will reach in its core mission to eradicate poverty is also truly up to me and up to you. Please open you heart and be a part of something small that can grow to make a big difference too many people including yourself…

Let’s have a good Heart to Heart.


Smiles that makes your heart melt...

Where the eyes may be the window of your soul, your heart pumps life into every part of your body and is vital for staying alive! Children have the magical power to take your heart, and plate it with pure gold, unknowingly, when you spend focused quality time with them.  I am privileged enough to volunteer at a school in Songon, that turns hearts into gold and clarifies one’s perception about what is important, and what is vital.

Through the personal stories I share on www.cempakputih.org  I am reaching out and convincing people to join the Cempaka Putih Foundation to help create awareness about Gede’s vision with his Yayasan. Fortunately, we are growing and getting stronger, while touching and changing one heart at a time.

The very first heart that allowed us inside was Graham Lock’s, owner of  www.baliflags.com, who donates 5% of his turnover to the foundation. His donations feed the bloodstream, which makes it possible for us to start and maintain projects, that relieve poverty and create prosperity for those who need it most. A heart as big as his inspires many, who do business with him, to follow his example. Thank you, Graham. We are truly grateful for your vital and ongoing support.

Future endeavors the Cempaka Putih Foundation intend to launch include: micro business development opportunities and a community recycling project, assistance to families affected by draughts in the rural farming villages by creating a second alternative income.  Anybody with advice, or who would like to participate in these projects, is welcome to contact me via e-mail at dee@cempakputih.org. It will take a lot of planning and hard work, but we are determined. And we trust that YOU will pour your heart into assisting us, to realize these ethically and environmentally conscious dreams.

Chantal and Gede teaching together.

Our English learning program, every Sunday in Songon, has recently given Race Fannin a change of heart, when he so selflessly gave his time to join us, during his holiday and first trip out of the United States, to help teach. Before Race returned home, he was joined by Chantal Paine, a fellow South African, who has been in Bali for over a year already. Formerly assisting at the English First Academy down south, she came with a wealth of experience and enthusiasm for teaching English through fun and games.

During one of her lessons I had to help her queue the children for an activity by using my arm to create a barrier (Almost like a tollgate). One impatient boy pushed his chest against my hand to try and brake through, and all I could feel was his heart pounding from the adrenaline rush created by Chantal’s passionate and contagious energy. I hope she gets as addicted to this project as I am. It does take some self sacrifice from a 22 year old to give a day out of her weekend to charity, and we truly appreciate your efforts so far.

Dee, Chantal and Gede with the children of Songon.

The children surely enjoy this new “Ibu Cantik” whose laughter and light makes two hours go by in the blink of an eye.  As these students climb deeper into your heart, I hope you volunteer for longer and on a more permanent basis, with the Cempaka Putih Foundation, should you decide to spend more time in Bali.

In every day life, we tend to protect our heart, because we feel uncertain about the intentions of the strangers we meet. However on Sundays, when going to the school with Gede and friends, it’s save to let down your guard and wear your heart on your sleeve while playing, laughing, teaching and spending quality time with the children of Songon.

Madness and Method.

Race in the back of the class

I read somewhere once, that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different outcome each time. Often in life, we find ourselves on a hamster wheel as we live to the calculated formula that provides us with an outcome that adheres to our comfort zone. Abandoning the familiar, along with the securities and comforts that come with it, would be considered madness as well. To me, however, continuing to do the same thing over and over, regardless of the expected outcome, and yet continuing to expect to change and to grow as a person is, indeed, insanity.

This Sunday we had the privilege to take Race Fannin with us to our English classes in Songan. Leaving California for the fist time to experience a different culture, and the “Real Bali” as he jokingly said, is sure to be life changing. Gede introduced him to the students and informed them that next week, when he joins us again, he will sing a song and fire will shoot out of his hair. Good luck figuring out how to do that Race! I think this fire is just symbolic of what we can prepare to do at the next lesson together, and I look forward to working on ideas with you. Our last visitor, Joe from Germany, entertained the kids with a bag full of magical tricks and had great fun doing it.

Max, Dee and Race giving out books and pens.

Sadly the Cempaka Putih Foundation is also saying goodbye to a volunteer. Max came to Bali nine months ago and has been assisting me with the English classes. A month ago he would have returned already, but three hours before boarding the plane he impulsively postponed his flight. This madness was proof of the personal change he has undergone. “We very much love you” handwritten in a little farewell note from one of the students, I think sums up our gratitude for your efforts. We wish you a save flight back to South Africa and a speedy return!

Max, Race and I also handed out the books and Pens donated last week by Kadek and her friends to the students. “Bagus” was the first Indonesian word that Race added to his vocabulary as he gave these little people a big hearted handshake and a simple encouraging word.

After one year of being involved with the Cempaka Putih Foundation, and working in Songan, I think I am finding some method to my madness through the people that join me every so often. Gede and I cannot do it alone! Innovative involvement from both foreigners and Indonesians is a proven method to bring the change we want to see in this community.

It’s a crazy world we live in after all, so I challenge YOU to stop the senseless insanity of life and embrace meaningful madness. The method of volunteering and donating can make a change and let the foundation grow stronger in order to beat poverty. Please contact us today if you are inspired to help.

Breaking the Law

A few good Samaritans

Recently, a law was passed in Indonesia that makes it illegal to give money to a street beggar. While I also agree that giving in this way might create a bigger problem, I don’t think making it illegal to give will solve the problem either.  It does make the work of the Cempaka Putih  Foundation more vital to those that are in need.

While a lot of our support comes from businesses and people abroad it was refreshing that a group of young friends from Denpasar, Bali was inspired enough by our work to come and make a contribution themselves.

Boxes with food, clothes and stationery

Visiting us while we were busy with our English learning program at the Songan Village School, they pulled in with four cars and a small truck. The commotion of unloading the truck and setting up in the classroom next door made it a bit hard for me and Max to keep the children’s attention, but it was all for a good cause!

Poverty still affects many people in this region and the approaching draught of the dry season is bound to have an impact on many families in this farming community. The donation of food and clothes will definitely assist those in need, and the books and stationery will come in handy at the school as well.

We took a break and went into a meeting with the headmaster, head of the banjar and Gede to thank these good Samaritans for their efforts and received their blessing with great appreciation. Soon I will be reporting back on the distribution of the supplies you so generously gave to us, so you can see for yourself who benefited from your compassionate generosity.

Max handing out certificates

We also took the opportunity to give certificates to the children who attend our Sunday classes to inspire them to continue. Max mentioned that the young adults he taught English to could learn some confidence from these young students who so bravely speak in class and participate in the games that makes learning fun.

A great exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up, and doing this is within anyone’s power, as well as to their own personal advantage. The Cempaka Putih Foundation has given me the privilege of experiencing this truth for myself. Empathy, compassion and generosity might not be the law, but it still seems to be human nature. And the visit from our friends in Denpasar delivered this message of hope, that no law is needed for people to care about each other.

Gede talking to Kadek and friends

I hope that this example of humanity, that Kadek Aryati Kusuma Dewi and her friends made, will also inspire others to do the same, so we can continue to conquer the effects of poverty for years to come!

Terima kasih banyak!

Facing Fun

A Mini Carnival

It is a Balinese tradition that the day you have children, the community stops calling you by your given name, and refers to you as “Father of Sania” or “Mother of Andre” instead. Your role as a caregiver and provider is clearly mapped out with this name change, and the importance of parenting is honored with this expression of unconditional love.

I believe that this gentle attentive parenting of Balinese children make them the most pleasant, focused and simply delightful students to have. The last seven months teaching Sundays at Songon Village School has been an absolute pleasure and is the highlight of my week!

When Gede told me that there will be a few Australians joining us this last Sunday to do some face painting I got so excited that I also invited Joe, a German Sky and Water diving instructor, with! Not that there be any jumping out of planes or boats, but Joe had another talent up his sleeve… A few magic tricks he wanted to perform and teach the kids.

Being accustomed to the discipline of our students, I knew that this Australian, German, South African and Balinese cultural collision would not be chaotic at all. Utilizing three classrooms and dividing the children into three rotating groups took care of the logistics, and so we started facing the fun.

In the Australian classroom Shane created balloon creatures and toys, or whatever each child wished for. Nadia and Vanessa transformed them into Butterflies, Batman, or you name it, through face painting. The detail and artful skill of these Australians was phenomenal and inspiring.

At the same time, in the German classroom, Joe was pulling the bunny out of the hat, or was it putting the coin onto a closed bottle or a few card tricks? I am not too sure, but the most noise and laughter came from his Hocus Pocus, or at times “Hopelessly Pocus,” but always entertaining tricks.

And in the meantime, with all this fun going on, an English lesson was being given in the South African classroom. I only had one naughty boy that could not stay in the class to learn… It was Max! He simply had to join in the fun, and was soon having balloon sword fights, watching the magic tricks and face painting, and enjoying himself with the rest of the children!

Smile and the world smiles back at you. Smile at a child and experience an abundance of cheery laughter. As the children said their goodbyes to Nadia, Vanessa, Joe, Max and Me, I realized that through the Cempaka Putih Foundation, prosperity is a possibility for these students.

As for me, I am no longer Dee. I am a “Teacher of Songon Children.”

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Learning from Angels

Traditional Baby Bracelets

Traditional Baby Bracelets

When a Balinese child is born, for the first three months they are not allowed to touch the ground. Silver or gold bracelets are placed around their arms and ankles, they are almost worshiped or perceived to be “fallen angels”

I accompanied Gede to a meeting he had set up with the principal of a local primary school, the banjar leader, and a few teachers in Songan Village. During the meeting, the mission statement of Cempaka Putih Foundation was handed over and explained, and examples were given of other ongoing and/or successfully completed CPF projects within the community.

The School in Songan

The purpose of this meeting was to submit a proposal to start an English language program at the school. This is where I would come in, as the principal of the school wanted a western speaker of fluent English to participate in the project.

After two hours of deliberation in Balinese, Gede informed me the banjar leader, principal, and teachers had unanimously agreed to give the project the green light! Excited by this vote of confidence, I asked Gede WHEN we could start the program? My question was translated and the principal got up to fetch the Balinese calender.

CPF mediator leading meeting

It is customary in Balinese Hinduism to plan everything according to auspicious astrology. This is all meticulously worked out by religious authorities, and printed on the Balinese Calendar. There are days that are good for cutting your hair, clipping your nails, or filing your teeth; and then there are days that are good to start a new venture. Such a day had to be chosen from the calendar to ensure the success of the project. So, the date was set for two weeks later, giving us little but enough time to prepare.

A shopping trip to an educational book store in Denpasar revealed a wealth of colorful posters and handy workbooks. I searched, in particular, for materials that had both Indonesian and English explanations to make it easier for the children to learn, as well as providing a convenient Indonesian lesson for myself ;-)

Boys and their books!

When the day arrived for our classes to begin, I really saw what perfect angels Balinese children can be. Over fifty kids, between the ages of six and eleven, were playing around and having fun while waiting for us in the schoolyard. My nervous anticipation began to subside as I witnessed the happy smiles and the spontaneity of innocent youth.

I recall from my own primary school days in South Africa, that a day would start with assembly where the children would be seated in neat rows to hear announcements from the headmaster. Then, row-by-row, and in an orderly fashion, we would adjourn to our classrooms. At this school, in this time, things are being done a little differently…

A boy praying in class

The children had their own ceremony, with just a little help from the principal to light the incense. They even did a prayer and offering inside the classroom. It was so inspiring to be given the opportunity to teach these wonderful children, and I am so exited now to see them every Sunday.

Dee giving individual attention

Our Sunday class is basically just an oral revision of what the children learn during the week. This a class where individual attention is given, and each child gets a chance to talk. I listen to their pronunciation and grammar, while giving advice and playing fun educational games.

Anybody is welcome to join and participate in this class every Sunday. Transport leaves at 12:30 p.m. and returns to Ubud at 17:30.

Come face to face with an angel and teach while you learn. This is truly magical.

Project Manager Needed!
We are looking for one or more dedicated individuals to help us run and administrate the Cempaka Putih Foundation. If you have experience in non-profit management, and think you can help, please contact us!
Needed Now!

Office Supplies & Furniture
Computers * Telephones
Wheel Chair * First Aid Kits
Volunteers * Cash

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Yayasan Cempaka Putih Foundation
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