Making a Difference in Bali: Jen's Story

How one woman is bringing about change in Bali by offering orphans education, surfing and yoga.

Janine (Jen) Hall once had a high-flying career in fashion marketing that took her all over the world. After suffering from burn out and quitting the rat race in 2010, she found bliss by the sea. She has since devoted her life to helping other women recharge, reflect and live a more stress-free life through her yoga and surf retreats, Escape Haven, in Bali. The award-winning retreats have expanded worldwide and also run in Byron Bay, Morocco and Portugal. 

Now there is a a new challenge for the entrepeneur. Jen is launching the Creating Futures Foundation, a charity aiming to provide children living in the poorest orphanages in Bali with education and physical activities that will increase their chances of creating themselves a brighter future.

“I started out life as an orphan myself, but I was lucky to have the chance at a great education which has brought me where I am today, so it struck a chord in my heart when I came to Bali and saw the bleak future of orphans here,” Jen said.

“They have very limited access to things that we take for granted like education, sport, the great outdoors and support. Bali has got beautiful scenery, but many of these children have never seen the ocean! I want to change the direction of their lives and give them the opportunity to fulfil their dreams – just like I was given as an orphan.”

The concept for the charity is based on empowering children through surfing, self-awareness and confidence through yoga and meditation, and providing skills with English lessons.

“What we found by scratching the surface was that many children here suffer from major self-esteem issues and fear. That is why our programme is holistic, and we’re kicking off with outdoor programmes in order to tackle the limiting beliefs they have. By building the children’s self-esteem, self-worth and self-certainty, the education part will be more effective.”

Essentially, the Creating Futures Foundation aims to create a promising future for all orphans in Bali who are forced to live in orphanages and children’s homes due to poverty and neglect.

“Our mission is to transform the course of their lives through enabling them to see hope, to believe in themselves, to dream and to act on these dreams confidentially and knowing that they can achieve them,” Jen explains. “We want them to believe that their past doesn't dictate their future, and that they can have a wonderful, exciting future.”

Ultimately, Jen’s dream is to decrease the number of orphanages in Bali.

“The majority of the children living in orphanages here have parents, but they may have had no choice but to send them away due to extreme poverty. We want to ultimately create a micro industry in East Bali, where the poorest villages are based, and by creating a source of income and industry for these impoverished villages, our aim is to reunite these children with their parents. I get goosebumps thinking about the impact we can make!”

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