22 May 2017
A high school student studying Indonesian at USC has used her language skills to help lead a $20,000 initiative to provide a rural village in Bali with a library.
Mountain Creek State High School student Samara Welbourne, 16, recently visited Bungaya village to help build the facility, after spending the past nine months raising funds and applying for grants in Australia for the project.
Samara learnt some Indonesian while living in Bali from 2014-2016 and is furthering her Indonesian language skills through USC’s Headstart program, which offers Year 11 and 12 students the chance to study tertiary subjects while still at high school.
Samara said a Balinese friend had highlighted to her the needs of the Bungaya community, which is one of the poorest villages on the island.
“My friend Tyas told me that she loved reading and writing, but her village had never had a library,” she said. “We decided we would work together to build one to boost the literacy and job prospects of the whole community.
“We were lucky to have a group called Journeyman International create architectural plans for us, so we started work to fundraise the $20,000 that we needed.
“English language skills are so important in Bali because of the size of the tourism industry. My hope is that the library will help boost those skills for the locals, and play a role in helping them out of poverty.”
Samara spent her most recent school holidays in Bali, working alongside her parents, grandmother and Australian and Indonesian volunteers to construct the initial stages of the library by hand. The building will be finished by the end of May.
She said USC’s Headstart program had given her the opportunity to study a subject not offered at high school, and provided her with a taste of university life.
“I really wanted to study Indonesian, and Headstart was the only way I could do it while still at high school,” she said.
“I’ve been really enjoying the course. It gives me a feel of what it means to go university, and I’ve learnt a lot about being independent and setting my own goals.”
For more information on the Bungaya library project or to donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/balilibrary.
— Gen Kennedy