Developing Youth into Sustainable Change-Makers

June 03, 2019

For the second year in a row, PAAC’s Study Tour to Bali, Indonesia exposed a curious group of students to a variety of approaches to community development, sustainable tourism, and environmental sustainability. 11 students participated on the trip, which took place over two weeks in June. This trip was possible thanks to the generous scholarships provided by the Takitani Foundation and the collaboration with East-West Center Fellowship Alumni, Aska and Tomohiro Hamakawa, the co-founders of Earth Company.

In recent years, Bali has become a hub for community organizers and social entrepreneurs seeking to confront the concerns posed by increasing demands on vulnerable landscapes and unsustainable growth in industries such as tourism and agriculture. Hawaiʻi shares many characteristics with Bali (e.g. island environment, tourism-based economy, resource scarcity), which made it an ideal location for students to learn what can be done in the face of such complex issues.

On the study tour, students visited the world-famous Green School and Kul-Kul Farm, 5 Pillar Foundation, Suwung Community Center, Bali Life Foundation, Bumi Sehat Maternity Clinic, Kopernik, and other organizations to see what innovative projects were being undertaken.

Their days were also interspersed with fun cultural activities, including a visit to the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), yoga and Balinese dance lessons, cooking and batik art classes, and Topek and Kecak dance performances.

Ultimately, students learned about the complex interdependencies of the environment, health, food, and development. More importantly, they witnessed how individual action on a local scale can create real change. The role models they met and the relationships they forged should continue to inspire them as they become leaders and change-makers here in Hawaiʻi.

See pictures of the Study Tour in the Gallery

Student Reflections

“The Suwung community and dumpsite experience changed my life. It was probably the best part of the program because without being asked, my mind was exposed to emotions that I have never felt in my entire life. By visiting such a place, my view of trash, pollution, and humanity was enhanced. Nothing compares to Suwung.”

“It was cool to get the authentic feel of Balinese culture totally unfiltered. I had a great sense of family - it felt like home.”

“Going to Bali is an amazing opportunity, but doing and visiting all the things that I got to was just putting it over the top. You not only see and hear incredible things, but you experience and connect with the nature, people, and emotions of Bali and Balinese culture. I learned so much and not just about the themes of the trip. Each day was a new experience and activity. It was new and one of the best trips of my life.”

Student Participants

Stephanie Albana, St. Andrew's Priory
Kayin Bohnet, St. Andrew's Priory
Anjali Cash, St. Andrew's Priory
Frenz Jamaica Dulluog, Farrington High
Kristyn Kailewa, Wai'anae High 
Teani Marques, Halau Ku Mana
Manuia Matautia, Halau Ku Mana
Catherine Mount, St. Andrew's Priory
Anna Marie Puaala, Farrington High 
Kira Stoetzer, St. Andrew's Priory
Natsuki Watanabe, Sacred Hearts Academy