“Volunteering in Bali has been an experience of a lifetime and I’ve loved every minute of it,” says Kim Batchelor, a former journalist, who recently took a break from her work at Australian Red Cross to volunteer with us at Friends of the National Parks Foundation (FNPF) for a year.
“FNPF has a great team, everyone’s always smiling, and they do great work every day. I’ll miss my colleagues, colourful Ubud, the culture, the beautiful rice fields, Nasi Campur for lunch every day, never needing to wear a jersey … I wish I could stay for another 12 months.”
Perspectives – Living Life Differently
Having the chance to support a small local conservation non-for-profit and to experience life in another part of the world are two of the main reasons New Zealand-born Kim decided to volunteer with us in Bali.
“I was really inspired by FNPF’s work helping to save endangered wildlife and its reforestation projects. I’ve never worked in conservation before, previously I’ve worked with nonprofits focused on human rights, humanitarian aid and international development … I wanted to expand my experience,” she says.
Kim’s year long assignment was focused on helping to strengthen communications capacity. “Really I think I ended up learning as much, probably even more, than I shared. FNPF has a small team, everyone pitches in to do everything – because of that I’ve learnt how to do lots of new things.”
Part of her assignment involved sharing her skills with our Communications Manager – our only staff member focused on communications and public relations. Together Kim and her counterpart looked at ways to help us get our voice heard, and work recognised and supported, locally, nationally and internationally. The ultimate aim being to strengthen our ability to run successful environmental and conservation programs.
“People say that extraordinary people want other people to be extraordinary as well – that’s what I learned from Kim. She helped me to understand communications work and she inspired me to give my best. Thanks for your support Kim,” says Kirana Agustina, FNPF’s Communication Manager.
Living in the heart of culture
Volunteering as a Communications and PR Advisor, through the Australian Government-funded Australian Volunteers for International Development program, gave Kim the chance to live in the beautiful and friendly town of Ubud, where we have our head office.
“Ubud is beautiful and an easy place to live. Balinese’s culture is so much part of everyday life; you see it all around you. I am so fortunate to have had the chance to see, and live among, the beautiful culture of Indonesia. Even though Bali, and Ubud, are very touristy you still feel like you’re heart of a living culture,” says Kim.
Close to the issues
FNPF is a local grassroots organisation working on wildlife and habitat conservation in a holistic way. Current projects include habitat restoration, community development (agro-forestry, ecotourism and fisheries), conservation education, and other wildlife conservation work.
Before her stint with us Kim worked with large nonprofit organisations, such as Amnesty International Australia and Australia Red Cross.
“I was far removed from the people we were supporting and helping – some of whom were often in other countries. At FNPF, I was much closer to the action, the wildlife animal rescue center is just down the road and Nusa Penida is close by – I’ve had the amazing opportunity of seeing its programs in action.”
FNPF’s Director and Founder Dr Bayu Wirayudha says: “Whilst a lot of ground has been covered, and tremendous results achieved a big part of it thanks to Kim, we can see the result of the positive synergy with Kirana which is evident in the much increased presence of FNPF with both local and international media.”
After finishing her assignment earlier this year, Kim has returned to her job in Sydney, Australia. “This was my first time volunteering overseas, it’s been amazing and I hope one day I will get the chance to volunteer somewhere else – maybe even back with FNPF, who knows.”