A few teenage girls and boys were spotted sitting around in the center of the school, listening to one of their friends sing a balinese song accompanied by the brittle strum of the acoustic guitar of their coach. While their voices may not sound as good as their all-time favorite singer, Queen Bey, significant cognitive improvements require enormous determination for those that have experienced delayed or impoverished language development. It is a commendable effort for them to sing a full song with such confidence.
Children with mental disabilities are not as accepted in Bali as they are in Europe. Along with reasons such as religious belief or simple ignorance, having a child with mental disability is seen as bad karma for the parents and/or child.
They are embarrassed. Sjaki Tari Us’ mission is to change this kind of opinion. They offer a learning program for children and teenagers with mental disabilities and teach the parents how to educate and take care of their child. Their focus is on children with mental disability in Bali under the following motto: “not less, but differently gifted”.
At Sjaki Tari Us, the students are divided into two learning groups based on their age. The first group is the Play-Learn group for children under the age of eight. The other is the Young Adult group that is open for children with mental disabilities who have graduated from SLB (school/formal institution for children with special needs), or for those who have no opportunity to go to SLB. Beyond focusing primarily on mathematics, reading, and writing Sjaki Tari Us places an emphasis on sports, music, and arts and crafts. Sports are especially important for children with Down Syndrome. It improves their weak muscle tone and health in general. They become more alert and generally improve their intelligence as well as helping to curb their frustration and stress.
Art and crafts not only introduces colors and creation to children but also teaches them concentration and expressing their self through art. With this activity they also create the possibility to involve visitors with the teenager activities. It’s intended to expand their social skills as well as helping them fund the foundation through selling their art.
Music is an all-time favorite for all says Ibu Iluh, the headmaster of Sjaki-Tari-us school Ubud. It soothes the nerves and at same time provides a way of improving the mind and prevents the deterioration of the function of the brain. If you wish to find out more or are interested in promoting Sjari Tari Us you can donate through their website at or you can visit their school in Ubud or Singaraja with a reservation in advance.