Meet the People of Gili: Pak Mus

This is Pak Mus. He teaches at Gili Air SD primary school, but he is much more than that to the community. Everyone knows him and loves him. As a teacher since 1990, he has now taught two generations of people on Gili Air, which means he is now teaching the children of his original students! Mus is a humble, well educated man who travels between Lombok and Gili Air to support his family. When he is not teaching, he is selling bungkus to school staff and the locals,  and bracelets to the tourists.

I see him walking toward me with a big smile. He radiates a coolness, a sense of relaxation and approachability.

He shakes my hand and leads me to a bench on the beach.

I’ve heard the people of Gili really love you, they have such nice things to say about you. What’s your favorite thing about Gili Air?
“We still have more friendly people. We really care about our families, we still have that. Sometimes you go to Gili Trawangan, eh, you don’t see it so much now.”

And your work, what specifically do you love about your work and the time you’ve spent doing it?
“Ah, teaching, yea. I love it. I love my teaching. Because the kids stay close with me, yea. I didn’t come for one day and every kid asks me “AHHH, where were you?!” Yeah, teacher is good job. Must do it with heart.”

And do most of the kids stay in the area, or on the island?
“Oh yes, all of them.”

Whats your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
“Oh, you know I try to always sell. You know maybe when I retire i’ll just sell more jewelry.”

Were you here for the earthquake?
“Yea, I was at home during the earthquake. Six o’clock I leave from Gili Air, got home seven o’clock… earthquake nearly 8 o’clock. After shower, after dinner, earthquake come. It was very bad for my family. We have 6 kids… I had to look for my kids, find where they are. I have twins stay at grandmas and another kid stay at aunts, ah really hard to find them.”

But Everyone was ok?
“Yea, everybody ok. Also my house was ok, a little bit bad, but just a little. Some people lost much more.”

How did that affect the kids at the school?
“Mhmm, mhmm, after the earthquake,… two weeks after that we go back to school, we give the kids trauma healing. We give the kids more time, get them to still play on and study on. We call parents and see how they are. We teach them what to do, where to go if there is another earthquake.”

So what is the best thing that visitors can do to help?
“The school is welcome for anyone. It’s good for us, good for the kids. It’s fun to have them. We can study more of the culture, western culture.”

So do the kids like it? Learning about western culture from foreigners?
“Yea yea yea! Like what I said before, we are from Gili. Here we say welcome to the tourists. But we must study from the tourists because they bring more positive things. They are more disciplined, yea that’s good. And when the tourists come here our economy is better. After the earthquake, no tourists, very bad for our economy.”

Can you share a fun fact about yourself? Like.. whats your favorite local food?!
oh!!! Gado gado!! Boiled potato with peanut sauce, a little bit chili. Can put egg or tofu on top. Just a little bit of chili, not too spicy!

Mus then smiles, and looks anxiously to his right. There is a boat waiting for him to take him home to Lombok for the afternoon. I thank him for sharing with me.

He grabs my hands, gives me a smile and a thumbs up and trots down to the water.

Hoola Hoops for everybody!

Since the Lombok earthquake, which happened on the 5th of August, we’ve been running a trauma recovery and moving on program. Mainly organising social circus workshops in Gili Air‘s elementary school (SD), and in Camp Pamenang, in Lombok.

Our dream?

Hoola Hoops for everybody!

With lots of help from several volunteers from the worldwide Circus Family, I

We’ve been able to keep the program running, for the people of Lombok and Gili. The best is, the kids absolutely Love it! If you are reading this and you love this idea, or you know someone that would love the idea, please, as we say in French “Faites passer le mot!”, help us spread the word, towards the circus community worldwide! Lets keep creating Magic for the community!

Together with the Fiery Pixies, we are planning to make around 100 hoola hoops for the people of Lombok.

Have you heard of them?

Two playful pixies who love to flow, play, dance and spin together. Through sharing our passion for flow and movement with the world, we remind people that magic still exists. We LOVE them!

The plan is to drive around Lombok and visit as many camps as possible in North Lombok, host social circus workshops and give all the kids hoops. Since the Lombok earthquake, the people of Lombok have lost everything. Basically all of North Lombok is flat. Over 300.000 people displaced, which means they currently have no home. Either the earthquake distroyed their home, or their home was considered unsafe and they had to demolish it. Can you imagine loosing your home? Most of them worked their entire life to pay for their homes. Now they live in tents. As they are waiting for the government to help them rebuild. We’ve managed to raise almost enough money to rebuild 11 homes. Nevertheless we’d like to help all the others with our trauma recovery and moving on program.

Being a victim myself of the Lombok Earthquake, I know exactly what PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, feels like now. Lucky me! Learning everyday! It basically means that as soon as the ground shakes just a little bit, for example in an elevator, a wooden house in windy season, a bridge, even the thunder actually sounds exactly like the start of an earthquake,… How can I discribe it? Your heart literally stops, you freeze and panic. Then you get a hold of yourself and laugh at yourself, if you’re lucky. Social Circus is actually fabulous to move on. Thinking about something else, circus is the perfect combination of creativity, physical exercise, coordination, and fun! A perfect blend for PTSD if you ask me. Lets play!

Lucky’s Bar our First Regular Sponsor in Gili

Lets Dance at Lucky’s Guys! Its all for a good cause! For Gili Air! Its official, every party organised, Lucky’s Bar has agreed to donate to the Soraya Foundation. Which officially makes them the first regular sponsor of the Soraya Foundation! We couldn’t be happier! It warms our heart to have a regular local sponsor from the island. Gili Air, we love you. Thank you for your support Lucky’s Bar! 

What do we do?

  • Education: Community Classes at Gili Air’s elementary school (SD): English Class, Anglung Music Classes, Social Circus, plastic free paradise kits for the kids
  • Education: Gili Air’s first Montessori Playground
  • Lombok Earthquake Relief Program

What to we want to do?

  • Waste and water management Gili Air: implement compost, permaculture garden and water collection system for businesses and personal properties
  • We dream of Gili Air:  Zero Waste island
  • Protect the Marine Ressources of Gili Air: 4 more Bio Rock Reef Restauration for Gili Air

Also most welcome to pitch us your ideas, we’ll be happy to make them reality if its what we believe in.

If these are causes you believe in. Sponsor us! Donate! Dance at Lucky’s!  Organise a fundraising event in your home or business. Because we care and we’ll make a difference. Lets change the world together, one island at a time. 

Our Story?

Its just over a year ago that we started the Soraya Foundation. Valentina, my partner, shared with me her dream. Her dream was to start a Montessori Playground for her daughter, Soraya. Wanting kids of my own one day, I thought it was a brilliant idea and told her, I’d support her fully.

When I consulted my consultant in Lombok to know what type of paperwork we needed to create a Montessori inspired playground, she told me I needed to start a foundation.

You know that feeling you sometimes get? When you feel like you are exactly where you are supposed to be? I felt this light, flowing through my body. Because I always had this little voice in my head telling me.

“Give something back to the island! “

“Give something back to the island!”

“Give something back to the island! “

What better then education? One school to support the other. It just felt like destiny.

We started in August 2017 with community classes, first English, then Music Anglung classes, we raised money to buy a plastic free paradise kit for all the kids with Gili shark Conservation and since this year we offer social circus classes, part of our earthquake relief program, after Lombok and the Gili islands got hit by several earthquakes. The kids simply love it. It so nurturing to be able to make them smile after what they’ve been through. There is no better way then to do trauma healing then circus workshops. Great for coordination, creativity, discipline, physical education,…  Plus, it will most certainly be a good baggage for their future. English is clearly useful, as most of them will work in tourism. Music education can help spark a child’s imagination or ignite a lifetime of passion.

We thought, why stop here? Lets get involved and improve waste and water management, lets regenerate the coral reefs, in partnership with Gili Eco Trust and add some Bio Rock Reef Restauration to Gili Air. We have plenty of good ideas, now all we need is funding. Who wants to sponsor our dreams?

We’ve also started with micro finance. We call it sponsor a dream. The locals bring us a project and we coach them into making it a successful reality. Inspired yet?

We create Magic for Gili Air. That’s what we do. If you want to sponsor us. Thanks to all of you, we can help all of them. Namaste.

Yoga with Steffi to Repair Gili schools

SDN 1 Gili Indah and Gili Playground is located in Gili Air, North Lombok. One is created to support the other. And yet, both are shaken and need major repair after series of earthquakes shaken the island.

August 5th is the day we were challenged to fix our schools, 7.0 SR quakes shaken our island caused terrifying damage, SDN 1 Gili Indah is the only primary school in the Island so far with more than 240 students. Even before it was damaged the school wasn’t in good condition at all, roofs are leaking, hole on the ceiling, and walls needs to be fixed and repainted. The old house we rent for Gili Playground wasn’t in a good condition either since the beginning. This condition leaves the students in trauma, refusing to study in in the classes.

On October 4th we had a team of engineers and architect to come and check the schools, marking which rooms is safe and which rooms are not, noting down what need to be fixed. A week later, we had the result that most of the classroom in SDN 1 Gili Indah need to be fixed by filling the cracks, then all the fences and gate need to be rebuild. On other hand, the building we rent to have Gili Playground had major damage where all the roof and some walls need to be taken down. Gili Playground is currently using one of our friend’s place to keep it going, it is beautiful how the community helps each other at situation like this, but we know better we can’t use her place forever.

We are urgently looking for donation. All of the money will be donated to Soraya Foundation who will execute the repairmen and construction of both schools. It was a formidable task, being given a task of renovating a school broken down due natural disaster, lack of funding and negligence of government. We haven’t started the work and need urgent need help. Please help us give more than 240 students a new beginning. Any amount to help reach our goal will be greatly appreciated.

We’ll take photos and videos of the school and students, so you can see exactly where your generous donations went!

How it all began…

How are new projects born? We follow our dreams, they know the way. Then, if you put everything you have into it, success is the only way out.

One day Valentina came to see me, Julie. She told me that she’d like to start a Montessori inspired kinder-garden in Gili Air for her daughter, Soraya. Of course, it can also be for all other kids of Gili Air, otherwise it will be a lonely one.

I immediately found the project inspiring and became part of the adventure. Continue reading “How it all began…”

Conservation classes and NO single-use plastic free kit for the kids

Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.

I’m so happy & proud to announce that from November, my friend Rose and the Gili Shark Conservation Project team will start to organize conservation classes for the children of Gili Air. But there is more; they want to give the children the tools to say “no” to plastic. It’s our dream to put together a “PlasticFreeParadise kit” which we will hand out to the kids during the conservation classes.
Continue reading “Conservation classes and NO single-use plastic free kit for the kids”

Circus Show at Gili Air SD school

soraya foundation

The Circus Show at Gili Air’s primary school has become an appointment no child of the island would miss. Coming to its 4th edition, once again a group of professional jugglers, performers, clowns and acrobats are coming to Gili Air and amaze the audience with incredible circus tricks.

The show is open to anyone who would like to have a laugh, be amazed, 
spend a different morning and contribute to the community.
Continue reading “Circus Show at Gili Air SD school”

Community Music Classes in Gili Air

soraya foundation

We asked our English teacher, Agus, to have a look around and report to us how we could help the elementary school of Gili Air. One day in the back of the meeting room he found a serie of Indonesian instruments called Angklung. Angklung is a percussion instrument, made of a varying number of bamboo tubes, attached to a bamboo frame.

Similar to Western handbells, the tubes are carved to have a resonant pitch when struck and they are tuned to octaves. The kids hold the frame in one hand, with the other hand, they shake the instrument, which causes a repeating note to sound. Each of the kids in the angklung ensemble play just one note, but all together complete melodies are produced. What a beautiful lesson, don’t you think? Continue reading “Community Music Classes in Gili Air”