Barefoot walk to raise environmental awareness in Bali
A four-day walk, which began on Thursday in the Bukit area of Jimbaran, is being held to raise public awareness about environmental and humanitarian issues.
Organized by the ROLE Foundation, in partnership with SoleMen Indonesia, the event aims to collect donations to sustain programs that support children and women’s education, as well as conduct environmental programs.
“We are aiming to raise awareness and generate funds for underprivileged children, women’s literacy and vocational-skills training and environmental restoration projects in South Bali,” said ROLE’s founder, Mike O’Leary.
“We also invite local businesses, hotels and individuals living in the Bukit area to get involved and support these causes. They can make cash donations, purchase tickets for a raffle prize draw, sponsor the event, or make a personal pledge to help the planet and reduce their environmental impact.”
The 70-kilometer walk started from ROLE’s Town Leaning Center on Jl. Siligita, Nusa Dua, on Thursday. Over the coming days, it will pass through Ungasan, Pecatu, Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Dreamland and Jimbaran, with the final leg passing through Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua and on to Sawangan.
On Sunday, the walk will end at ROLE’s Eco-Learning Park in Sawangan, with a celebratory “Children’s Funday” event at the park.
As the participants walk, they may see many things about the environment that make them think of what they can do and make an individual pledge, Mike said.
“It’s the pledge to protect the environment that they make for themselves; it’s not legally binding. It could be any simple thing.” “In the years to come, we will remind them about the pledges they made. We believe in starting something that’s small but which continues for the future. This concept is quite new,” ROLE volunteer Ferr Lee added.
On the first day, five people participated in the walk: three from SoleMen and two from the ROLE Foundation.
SoleMen UK’s Robert Epstone, Frenchman Daniel Chieppa and Beat Schmid de Gruneck from Switzerland, walked barefoot around the whole Bukit peninsula.
“We walk barefoot to be in solidarity with the people who can’t afford shoes. We have the choice whether to walk barefoot or not, but they don’t. It’s just one way to show solidarity,” said Epstone, who has traveled to many countries barefoot.
He said the participants were also concerned about environmental conditions in the south of Bali and wanted to raise people’s awareness to contribute to restoration efforts.
As the participants walked up and down the hill, they made stopovers at hotels, cafés, restaurants and local businesses to discuss their environmental and humanitarian programs and collect donations.
“Many hotels are interested in our programs because they really want to do something. We shared ideas, collected information, and got their pledges that they are determined to do something to help solve the problems. We also established future partnerships,” Epstone said.
The participants will also meet with Bali Life Foundation, an orphanage in Bukit, and Eco Surf Rescue, from Uluwatu, a non-profit waste management project, which organizes trash collections and installs sewerage.