WATCH: A story of hope from the women begging in Bali’s streets

Bali can be a paradise for some and a hell for others, but an uplifting mini-docu about one Balinese woman’s life turning around after begging on the streets, gives us hope. 

While five-star beach resorts and luxurious jungle excursions come to mind when many think of Bali, the people struggling to make the day-to-day are often overlooked in the splashy press on the island. 

A mini-docu by traveling videographer Marko Randelovic (who brought us Sawah) provides insight to the struggles of the women, often coming from rural areas of Bali, to beg in the streets of Ubud and other tourist spots on the island. 

Randelovic shares the story of Ketut Suka, a woman from Muntigunung—one of Bali’s most economically disadvantaged areas—a village on the arid northern slopes of Mt. Agung. With the dry conditions and lack of water supply in Munti, employment opportunities were basically nil. 

Suka, out of dire circumstances and desperation, found herself begging on the streets of Ubud. 

“There was no work here so I had no choice but to take my children and follow my friends to go begging in Ubud,” Suka says in the docu. 

“The reality was that I didn’t have a job so I had no money to buy my children food or send them to school.” 

Now that would be a very grim way for Suka’s tale to end, but as the title of Randelovic’s docu is “Harapan” (Hope), the story develops into something inspiring. 

Enter Swiss-based foundation, Future. The foundation developed a rainwater collection system over 10 years ago for Muntigunung—game changing because as Suka describes, villagers would have to walk a five-hour roundtrip to the nearest lake for just a bucket of water at a time. 

Freeing up time with water gathering out of the way, the woman could dedicate more time for work. Social enterprises, set up by the foundation but led by Balinese, employing woman to make palm leaf baskets, hammocks, batik, and work on cashew production have given the women the opportunity to make a living. 

“I’ve been able to stop going begging in Ubud,” Suka explains. 

“All the women in my village have been able to stop begging because of these jobs.

“Now I can hope for my kids to go to high school and get qualifications which will enable them to get a better job. 

“I hope that Muntigunung will continue to improve and that there will be lots more jobs here for us to do.” 

 

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This article is filed under the Bali Neighborhood of "Karangasem District"